JAYAPURA, Indonesia (AP) — Unidentified gunmen stormed a remote police station in Indonesia's Papua province Tuesday, killing three policemen, police said.
About 50 assailants — armed with modern weapons and traditional ones such as arrows — attacked the Pirime police station in mountainous district of Lanny Jaya early Tuesday, said Papua police spokesman Gede Sumerta Jaya.
"Four officers stationed there were overwhelmed with so many brutal attackers," Jaya said. He added more than two dozen members of the police force's elite mobile brigade were searching for the attackers and for the fourth officer who may have escaped into the jungle.
Jaya said the gunmen grabbed two rifles and a pistol before torching the station and fleeing into the jungle.
Papua, a former Dutch colony in the western part of New Guinea, was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 after a U.N.-sponsored ballot. A small, poorly armed separatist group known as the Free Papua Movement has battled for independence since before that.
Tuesday's attacks occurred ahead of the anniversary of the separatist group, which declared independence from Dutch rule on Dec. 1, 1961. That was rejected by the Dutch and later by Indonesia.