Banjir Ambarita, Jayapura – A policeman was assaulted and his firearm stolen during a fundraising event in the separatist eastern province of Papua on Thursday, Indonesian police told the Jakarta Globe.
Police said a member of the pro-independence West Papua National Committee (KNPB) attacked 2nd. Insp. Budi Santoso while police were trying to disperse a fundraising event in Yahukimo district on Thursday.
Police believe the KNPB is affiliated to the armed Free Papua Movement (OPM) separatist organisation, which continues to stage a low-level armed insurgency against Jakarta's rule over Papua.
"When the police were trying to dismiss the KNPB fundraising event, one of the officers was attacked and his revolver was snatched," Papua police spokesman, Patrige Renwarin, told the Jakarta Globe.
Police believe one of the KNPB members snatched the firearm and have launched a search operation. "After snatching the gun the perpetrator ran away and we are still searching for him," Patrige said.
Patrige said the police decided to disperse the event because the KNPB did not have a permit to hold a fundraiser.
The KNPB responded angrily to the police intervention and tensions quickly escalated between the crowd and officers at the scene. Patrige said the situation in Yahukimo remained tense on Thursday afternoon.