Timika, Papua (ANTARA) - Five survivors of a gun battle between Indonesian troops and armed Papuan separatists in Olenki Village, Mabugi Subdistrict, Puncak District, Papua Province, on September 17, are recovering from gunshot wounds, a police officer revealed Friday. "Two of them have even been allowed to go home, while three others are still being treated at the Mimika Public Hospital," Chief of Mimika District's Police Precinct Adjunct Sen. Coms. Agung Marlianto told journalists here.

Four of the five villagers who suffered gunshot wounds have been identified as Topina Mom (36), Tabuni (37), Herina Kinal (32), and Yefrina Mom (16) while the other one is a man who sustained injuries on his right leg and was evacuated to the hospital Thursday.

Two of the victims will need to undergo surgery to remove the bullets lodged in their bodies. The bullets will then be sent for examination at Makassar-based police's forensic laboratory, Marlianto said.

In connection with the firing in Olenki village, Puncak District Head, Willem Wandik, said Wednesday that the armed rebels often use villagers as human shields.

Three civilians were killed in the firing. They are Tekiman Wonda (33) and two infants who have been identified as Edison Mom and Rudi Mom.

To avoid civilian casualties in the future, he appealed to the TNI and the police to carry out a persuasive approach, which would compel the rebels to surrender and stop attacking security personnel and civilians.

Willem Wandik also urged all the parties to maintain peace and end the conflict that could be used by others for their political gains.

Meanwhile, Spokesman of the XVII/Cenderawasih Regional Military Command, Lt. Col. Eko Daryanto, confirmed that there had been civilian casualties and expressed his condolences.

XVII/Cenderawasih Regional Military Commander, Major General Herman Asaribab, will coordinate with the Papua police chief to set up a joint team to investigate the incident, he said.

Herman Asaribab would also conduct a comprehensive evaluation on how the operation to hunt down the armed rebels is to be carried out so that further civilian casualties are avoided, he said. (INE)
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