Jayapura: A team of investigators, formed by the Puncak district police, will probe the killings of eight civilians by several armed Papuan separatist terrorists in Beoga Sub-district, Puncak District, Papua Province, on Wednesday.
"The killers are members of an armed group, but investigation is still ongoing to know what the group is," Papua Police spokesperson Senior Commissioner Ahmad Kamal stated in Jayapura, the capital of Papua Province, on Thursday evening.
The assault resulted in the deaths of Palaparing Timur Telematika's (PTT's) eight workers, who were repairing a base transceiver station (BTS) tower of state-owned telecommunications operator Telkomsel, he remarked.
The civilians slain in the attack were identified as B, R, BN, BT, J, E, S, and PD, Kamal noted, adding that another worker, only identified by his initials as NS, had survived the deadly assault.
When the incident occurred, NS was not with his colleagues at their camp for repairing the tower. NS found them dead after returning to the camp, Kamal stated.
After knowing about the tragic event, NS appealed for help through the closed-circuit television (CCTV) installed at the BTS tower 3, he remarked.
According to Kamal, the bodies of the deceased were not yet evacuated on Thursday due to weather conditions on the ground.
The case of murder of PTT workers is not the first tragedy to have struck this eastern Indonesian province.
On December 2, 2018, a group of armed Papuan rebels had brutally killed PT Istaka Karya's 31 workers, who were engaged in construction and building the Trans Papua project in Kali Yigi and Kali Aurak in Yigi Sub-District, Nduga District, Papua Province.
The armed rebels, who launched the brutal killings, also slew a soldier named Handoko and injured two other security personnel, Sugeng and Wahyu.
Papua has borne witness to a repeated cycle of violence over the past few years, with armed groups in the districts of Intan Jaya, Nduga, and Puncak targeting civilians and security personnel.
Intan Jaya recorded its bloodiest month in September 2020 when armed groups launched a series of attacks in the area that claimed the lives of two soldiers and two civilians and left two others injured.
The acts of terror continued in 2021. On January 10, 2021, for instance, an Indonesian soldier died in a gunfight in the Titigi area of Intan Jaya District.
On April 25, 2021, Papuan separatists operating in Beoga ambushed State Intelligence Agency (Papua) Chief, I Gusti Putu Danny Karya Nugraha, and several security personnel during their visit to Dambet Village.
Nugraha died of gunshot wounds sustained during the attack.