Jakarta – The police have arrested a suspect allegedly linked to the killing of Muhammad Thoyib, 39, a worker at a furniture shop whose body was found with stab and arrow wounds in Dekai district, Yahukimo regency, Papua, on Aug. 20.
"We have arrested a suspect identified by the initials YM in the murder case," the National Police's public information bureau head, Brig. Gen. Awi Setiyono, said in a written statement on Monday as quoted by kompas.com.
The case was part of a series of killings that took place in Yahukimo in August. Almost a week after Thoyib's death, brick delivery worker Yauzan aka Ocang, 34, was found dead at the Kali Buatan Bridge in Dekai district on Aug. 26.
The police said that they suspected that the two cases were intended to divert their focus away from the killing of Yahukimo General Elections Commission staffer Hendry Jovinski on Aug. 11.
Awi said the police were still hunting for the alleged mastermind behind the killings, Ananias Yalak alias Senat Soll, a former TNI member who was dishonorably discharged from the military for allegedly selling ammunition to an armed separatist group.
The police's Nemangkawi task force has also arrested members of an armed criminal group in three separate cases: one over the possession of a sharp weapon, one for allegedly burning a Bank Rakyat Indonesia ATM and two others over treason.
Previously, Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw said Senat had joined the armed group and declared himself the leader of the West Papua National Liberation Army's (TPNPB) 3rd Regional Defense Command (Kodap).
Paulus alleged that Senat was behind several criminal acts that took place in Dekai district with the help of several young men who had dropped out of school.
Paulus added that the efforts to arrest the perpetrators had been hindered by the limited telecommunications network in Dekai district, making it difficult for the police to coordinate. (syk)