Jakarta, Jul 16 (EFE).- At least nine people have died during an armed attack by a group of pro-independence insurgents in the Indonesian region of Papua, on New Guinea island, police reported Saturday.
The victims, aged between 23 and 54, had gunshot wounds and incisions caused by sharp objects, according to Faizal Ramadhani, director of the regional Criminal Investigation Unit, reported Kompas news portal.
One person remains hospitalized in a critical state.
The Indonesian police attributed the attack to the insurgent group West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), known to the authorities as Armed Criminal Group, but avoided commenting on the reasons for the assault on the Nduga Regency in Papua province.
The authorities do not rule out finding more victims and said that army troops have been deployed to try to find those responsible.
TPNPB is the armed arm of the Papua Liberation Organization, which denounces Indonesia’s occupation of the western part of the island of New Guinea and calls for its integration into Papua New Guinea, which occupies the eastern part of the island.
The attack comes two weeks after Indonesia’s parliament approved the creation of three new provinces in the Papua region, which now got divided into five jurisdictions from the previous two.
The Indonesian government claims these divisions will help accelerate development, improve rollout of public services and bring dignity of the community.
Meanwhile, the independence movement in Papua, where sporadic conflicts have been going on since it came under Indonesia’s control in 1969 in a UN-supervised decision, fears that this is a way to increase control by the Jakarta government over the province.
The Papua region under Indonesia occupies the western half of the island of New Guinea, a territory rich in natural resources where the separatist movement began to gain strength from 1963, when the Netherlands withdrew from Indonesia. EFE