Jakarta – The Indonesian Military (TNI) said on Thursday that it discovered one of the bases of an armed criminal group (KKB) that has been active in Intan Jaya regency of Papua.
Cendrawasih Military Command spokesperson Lt. Col. Dax Sianturi said the soldiers found the group's base in a village in Tigi district on Tuesday.
"We fired two shots; the first one was believed to have hit a member of the group, who afterwards was brought by his friends to a honai [traditional hut]," Dax said as quoted by kompas.com on Thursday.
Soldiers found about 20 firearms in a traditional house in a Tigi village, which they estimated to be home to some 70 members of the armed group, Dax said.
Upon discovery, alleged members of the armed group immediately fled the village into the forest. However, the soldiers decided not to run after them, he added. "Right now, we are on standby to anticipate any retaliation from the KKB," Dax said.
Intan Jaya is one of the regencies in the country's easternmost province that has repeatedly experienced outbreaks of violence. Last month, two military officers were killed in the regency during a shootout with armed assailants while on security duty as the district prepared for Christmas celebrations.
According to the Cendrawasih Military Command, the armed criminal group operating in Intan Jaya consists of two smaller groups, with one led by Lekagak Teleggen and the other by Militer Murib. Both groups previously had their bases in Puncak regency and it is still unknown why they relocated to Intan Jaya.
Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw said he believed the firearms used by the group originated from Lumajang, East Java.
Paulus said they received information that there was a place in Lumajang that produced homemade firearms with modern specifications, which were suspected to have been smuggled to Papua.