TPNPB claims to kill 13 soldiers in Nduga attack

TPN-PB spokesman Sebby Sambom. -Doc. Personal

Nabire, Jubi – The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) claimed to have killed 13 Indonesian Military (TNI) soldiers in a firefight in Mugi District, Nduga Regency, Mountainous Papua Province.

TPNPB spokesman Sebby Sambom in a written statement on Monday, April 17, 2023, said he received reports from TPNPB troops in Mugi District led by Perek Jelas Kogoya. “We received a report that they managed to attack a TNI post in Mugi District and shot dead 13 TNI soldiers,” Sambom wrote in his press statement.

He said TPNPB troops also seized firearms and ammunition from the soldiers. According to Sambom, a total of 12 bodies have not been evacuated by security forces.

“The TNI announced only one member died because they managed to evacuate only one body. Meanwhile, 12 bodies have not been evacuated,” Sambom said.

Sambom said nine soldiers were also captured by TPNPB on Saturday, and were executed on Sunday. “The number has been confirmed by TPNPB leader of Ndugama Derakma,” Sambom said.

Previously, TPNPB group led by Egianus Kogoya burned a Susi Air plane that landed and dropped off passengers at Paro Airstrip on February 7, 2023. They also took pilot Philip Marh Mehrtens hostage. Since then, the TNI and police have been carrying out operations to free Mehrtens, and a firefight broke out in Mugi on Saturday.

On Sunday, TNI said that only one soldier named First Pvt. Miftahul Arifin died in a firefight in Mugi. The TNI also admitted that the whereabouts of a number of soldiers had not been known since Saturday.

On Monday, TNI chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Bambang Ismawan said four soldiers in Mugi District had returned, but five were still missing. (*)

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