JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian police shot at indigenous Papuan villagers, killing one person and wounding several others, including two children, during a confrontation that erupted after workers at a company in the remote area refused to take a dying villager to a hospital.
The parliament of the Deiyai area in easternmost Papua has called for the arrest of officers involved in the shooting Tuesday and the withdrawal of the mobile brigade, a police paramilitary unit.
The district chief, Fransiskus Bobii, said Wednesday that one person was killed and that he was trying to calm tensions between police and villagers. A police report said a 28-year-old man suffered multiple bullet wounds and died instantly. It said seven others were wounded, including two 8-year-olds.
Indonesia maintains a significant police and military presence in the volatile provinces of Papua and West Papua, a mineral-rich region where a decades-long separatist movement simmers and the predominantly Christian indigenous people resent an influx of Muslim Indonesians, who now outnumber them.
According to the police account, a village teacher asked workers of a company doing construction work in the area to help transport a sick villager but they refused because they feared being blamed if he died on the way.
Hours later, the man apparently died and villagers confronted the workers, taking one hostage, police said. Police went to the village, where they were attacked with rocks and arrows and responded with warning shots, the police statement said, without explaining the death and injuries.