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Indonesian troops kill key rebel in Papua gun battle

Lerinus Murib was thought to be involved in the murder of eight technicians in March

Police spokesman Ahmad Mustofa Kamal said a patrol came under fire from an armed group, triggering a firefight

Police spokesman Ahmad Mustofa Kamal said a patrol came under fire from an armed group, triggering a firefight. (Photo: Papuan police)

Published: May 31, 2022 08:15 AM GMT

Updated: May 31, 2022 08:20 AM GMT

Indonesian security forces shot dead a top separatist in a shootout in the predominantly Christian region of Papua.

Lerinus Murib, a member of the West Papua National Liberation Army and Free Papua Movement, was killed in a clash in Puncak district, on May 27, police spokesman Ahmad Mustofa Kamal said on May 31.

He said the incident occurred when a patrol came under fire from an armed group, triggering a firefight. 

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Kamal said Murib was suspected of involvement in several attacks, including the murder of eight technicians conducting telecommunications work on March 2 in Beoga, a remote village in the same district. 

TPNPB-OPM spokesman Sebby Sambom confirmed that Murib had been killed but also said another rebel had died. 

“Two members of TPNPB-OPM, Yakianus Labene and Lerinus Murib, were shot and killed by security forces,” Sambom said, adding both were defenders of truth in the struggle to free the Papuan people.

It was not clear why security forces only reported one death. 

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