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Indonesian armed group shoots at Wings Air plane upon landing in Papua

Jakarta Post - February 19, 2024

Jakarta – A Wings Air aircraft came under fire when landing at Nop Goliat Dekai Airport in Dekai, Yahukimo regency, Papua Highlands, at 1.20 p.m. on Saturday, the shooting is alleged to have been carried out by an armed criminal group (KKB).

Papua Police chief spokesman Sr. Comr. Ignatius Benny Ady Prabowo confirmed on Sunday the shooting targeted Wings Air flight IW 1646, an ATR 72-600 turboprop aircraft, registration number PK-WGT."The information we received stated that the aircraft was hit on the port side and a round penetrated the aircraft cabin." Ignatius said on Sunday, as quoted by kompas.com.

Passengers heard a gunshot from the port side of the plane upon landing. In a follow-up examination, a bullet was found lodged directly above passenger seat No. 19A in the air conditioning outlet.

Yahukimo Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Heru Hidayanto said no one was seriously harmed in the incident, although one passenger, identified only as PO, suffered a minor neck injury after being hit by fragments from the impact.

"All 36 passengers of the Wings Air's plane are safe," Heru said on Sunday.

Heru stressed that Nop Goliat Dekai Airport was still operating as normal, saying that airlines could continue flight activities at the airport.

Following the incident, the Wings Air aircraft was reported to have returned to Timika. The plane flew back after the hole in the fuselage was patched up.

Security personnel from Operation Cartenz Peace 2024 conducted a sweep around the Brasa River area near the airport, which is suspected to be the shooting location.

"We have conducted crime scene processing and asked for information from the cabin crew. We are also coordinating with related parties to follow up on this case and pursue the shooter," Heru said.

Ignatius suspected that the perpetrators escaped by crossing the river into the forest to avoid being pursued by the joint Indonesian Military-National Police personnel.

The escape route was used because of the strong river currents and dangerous terrain.

Papua Highlands province was established in November 2022, after being carved out of Papua province.

The province has yet to get its own provincial police force and is still under the jurisdiction of the Papua Police.

Source: https://asianews.network/indonesian-armed-group-shoots-at-wings-air-plane-upon-landing-in-papua