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Papua shooters' identity is already known: BIN

Jakarta Globe - April 11, 2012

Banjir Ambarita, Arientha Primanita & Farouk Arnaz – The identity of the gunmen who on Sunday fired machine guns at a commercial plane in Papua may already be known by authorities.

The chief of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), Lt. Gen. Marciano Norman, on Wednesday told journalists: "The position of this group has already been identified. They are currently being pursued."

Speaking to journalists at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta, Marciano declined to give further details, only saying that the hunt for the attackers was now focused on the location of the shooting in Mulia, the district town in Puncak Jaya, on the western coast of Papua.

Meanwhile, military leader Maj. Gen. M. Erwin Safitri said that the separatist Free Papua Organization (OPM) was behind the shooting of the airplane in Mulia, which caused the death of one of the passengers on board the Trigana Air aircraft.

"This was an act of the OPM. No other group in Papua has caused chaos there, and this has happened several times before," Erwin said.

He said that while elsewhere in Papua the military have prioritized peaceful dialogue, Puncak Jaya was an exception, and "even more so since Goliath Tabuni [the local OPM chief] is still conducting a guerrilla campaign in the forests there," he said.

National Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo said that police were coordinating with the local authorities to safeguard the area. "We have coordinated with the administration in Puncak Jaya and all security personnel there," Timur said.

Indonesian Armed Forces Commander Adm. Agus Suhartono said that the military was ready to assist the police in securing the area and both forces were coordinating well in Papua. "We will provide the back up and we already have troops there," he said.

Papua Police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. Johannes Nugroho Wicaksono said the Mulia airstrip will be operational today after local authorities agreed to increase the security presence in the area.

The airstrip has been the site of several shootings in recent years. Last year, a local police chief was ambushed and gunned down.