Konradus Epa, Jakarta – A man was hacked to death and three others injured in two separate attacks by a rebel group in Indonesia's restive Papua province, police said on March 10.
Papua police spokesman Senior Commissioner Ahmad Mustofa Kamal said the attacks both took place on March 7 in Seradala a village in Intan Jaya district and Kumbalagupa, a village in Yahukimo district.
Kamal said a gold miner was killed by rebels armed with machetes and another was injured in the attack in Kumbalagupa.
He said the other two injured victims were construction workers.
About a dozen other people managed to escape the attackers, while the injured were being treated in local hospitals, Kamal said without giving the extent of their injuries.
The West Papua National Liberation Army and Free Papua Movement (TPNPB-OPM) later admitted responsibility for the attacks.
The separatist group also claimed responsibility for the killing on March 2 of eight technicians fixing a transceiver station in a remote part of Papua's Puncak district.
Human rights defender Theo Hesegem said the latest attacks suggest the rebels are stepping up attacks on civilians as well as security forces.
"They have declared certain areas off limits and are determined to enforce this," the head of the Papua Justice and Human Integrity Foundation told UCA News. "There is no excuse for targeting civilians. The police and military should protect them if they have to enter these areas."
The eight technicians were killed because they entered a restricted zone, according to the rebel group.
Markus Haluk, director of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, said the TPNPB-OPM were targeting civilians either because police and military personnel were operating in plainclothes or civilians were helping the authorities.
"Either way, this is no excuse to target civilians," he said.