TPNPB shoots helicopter in Helipad 99 Baya Biru

TPN-PB spokesman Sebby Sambom. -Doc. Personal

Jayapura, Jubi- The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) shot down a helicopter in Baya Biru District, Paniai Regency on Wednesday (20/3/2024), claiming that the helicopter was carrying mining logistics operating in Baya Biru. The mine is suspected to be illegal.

TPNPB spokesperson Sebby Sambom, relaying a statement from one of TPNPB leaders Aibon Kogoya, stated that the helicopter also carried Indonesian military personnel. “We managed to shoot the helicopter that regularly transports logistics for mining and Indonesian military personnel to Baya Biru, Degeuwo,” said Sambom

According to Sambom, the helicopter shot down by Aibon Kogoya’s group also frequently allegedly transported sex workers for the miners. In the statement, Sambom also conveyed Aibon Kogoya’s demand regarding the presence of mines in Baya Biru, which was deemed as negatively impacting the lives of residents in Baya Biru.

“We demand the immediate closure of mining operations disguised as militarism and investments that harm the indigenous people of Baya Biru. Send the sex workers back to Java, as they are a source of diseases [AIDS and HIV transmission] to kill Papuans,” he said.

Sambom’s press statement also included demands for all mining permits in Papua to be revoked. “We demand that all companies cease operations. If they continue to exploit our resources, they will be shot dead,” he said.

In Jayapura, the Papua Police announced that two police officers died in an attack carried out by the TPNPB in Baya Biru District. The attack occurred on Wednesday at around 8a.m. Papua time.

Papua Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Ignatius Benny Ady Prabowo stated that the two police officers killed in the attack were Second Brig. Arnaldobert Yawan and Second Brig. Sandi Defrit Sayuri.

Benny stated that the police was currently investigating the attack, which also resulted in the loss of two AK-47 rifles. “The case is currently under investigation,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Paniai Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Abdus Syukur Felani stated that the attack occurred while personnel were securing Helipad 99 in Baya Baru District. “The incident started when our personnel were securing Helipad 99. Suddenly, several gunshots were heard from the east, causing us to lose two personnel and two AK-47 rifles were stolen,” Abdus said via WhatsApp.

Abdus stated that they are currently conducting a sweep and investigation into the case. He affirmed that the police will take firm action against the individuals or groups responsible for the attack. “We will pursue the perpetrators or groups responsible for this action. They will be prosecuted according to the law. We are also currently increasing security at all points in Paniai Regency to prevent any unwanted incidents,” he emphasized. (*)

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