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Papuan armed group accused of shooting Covid-19 team members

Troops guarded a gas station in Merauke District, Papua, Tuesday (Sept 3, 2019). (ANTARA/HO/Merauke District Police's Documentation). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

JAKARTA, May 24, 2020, The Jakarta Post. Military and police personnel belonging to the Nemangkawi task force in Intan Jaya regency, Papua, are on a manhunt for an armed group that purportedly shot members of a local COVID-19 response team, The Jakarta Post reported.

As reported by Antara News Agency, the Nemangkawi joint task force released a statement on Saturday saying an armed group had shot two health workers affiliated with the local COVID-19 task force in Wandai district, Intan Jaya regency, on Friday at 4:30 p.m. local time.

The two medical workers – identified as Amalek Bagau, 30, and Eniko Somou, 39 – were shot while delivering medical supplies to a remote area in Intan Jaya regency.

The Nemangkawi task force, with the assistance of the Intan Jaya Police, managed to locate and evacuate the victims and transferred them to the Nabire General Hospital on Saturday morning, according to the statement.

Papua Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. AM Kamal said Amalek had survived the incident, but was in critical condition, while Eniko had died from his wounds.

“It took us about five hours to arrive at the crime scene,” Kamal said, citing difficulties in navigating the steep terrain.

The case is the latest in a recent string of violence that has resulted in the deaths of civilians in the region.

In April, two young Papuans, Eden Armando Bebari and Ronny Wandik, were allegedly shot to death by security forces in Mimika regency after being mistaken for members of an armed separatist group.

A week before that, New Zealander Graeme Thomas Wall, an employee of gold and copper mining company PT Freeport Indonesia, was killed by gunmen in the area.

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