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Army helicopter attacked while transporting shooting victim PAPUA - An Indonesian Army helicopter was attacked on Wednesday as it evacuated the body of a soldier who was previously killed at his military post in eastern Papua province, the Jakarta Globe reported on Thursday.

The helicopter, a Super Puma belonging to the 753 Nabire Infantry Battalion, was shot at while en route from the Puncak Jaya capital of Mulia to Wamena in Jayawijaya district, Papua police spokesman Senior Commander Wachyono told the Jakarta Globe.

While flying low because of bad weather over Tingginambut, the helicopter was hit on the lower part of its body near the front landing gear and near the engine. The aircraft suffered no significant damage and was able to make it to Wamena.

"The helicopter was evacuating the body of First Private Fana Suhandi, a member of the 753 battalion, to Wamena state hospital," Wachyono added, as cited by the newspaper.

Fana had been guarding a military post in Tingginambut on Tuesday when a shot to the chest killed him instantly, the police official said. Wachyono said separatists with the Free Papua Movement (OPM) were the main suspects responsible for both incidents, which came on a day marked by rallies elsewhere in Papua in which thousands of people demanded an independence referendum.

But Lambert Pekikir, an OPM leader, said that his organization was not responsible for the series of attacks. "The OPM has lowered its arms to respect the peaceful demonstration for a referendum. The instruction [for a ceasefire] came from the OPM leader in Sweden, Yacob Pray," he said to the Jakarta Globe in a phone interview from an undisclosed location.

However, a string of attacks in recent weeks has plagued the district, known as a hotbed of support for the armed rebel movement.

On Tuesday, the town of Mulia was shaken by two separate shootings which targeted police and military offices, wounding one soldier. On Friday, police said 16 rebel fighters engaged in a firefight with police in Paniai district. And last month, two more shooting incidents left four soldiers dead.

Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said the government would take any measures necessary to ensure stability in the province as well as national unity, the Globe added.


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Posted in Violence @ 04 August 2011 14:28 CET by Blog Bot · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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