Shots kill air passenger in West Papua

Indonesian police arrest a man after dispersing West Papuans attending a ceremony last year. [Reuters]

Indonesian police arrest a man after dispersing West Papuans attending a ceremony last year. [Reuters]

Last Updated: Sun, 8 Apr 2012 18:29:00 +1000

One airline passenger is dead and four people wounded after gunmen fired on a small aircraft in the West Papua town of Mulia.

Those wounded include the two pilots.

The Twin Otter was shot at after it landed.

The pilots lost control and it then crashed into an airport building in the Indonesian province.

The Twin Otter is operated by domestic carrier Trigana Air.

Woman, child hurt

It was carrying eight passengers and crew.

The dead passenger was a local journalist. A police spokesman said the others wounded were a female passenger and a four-year-old boy.

Spokesman Johannes Nugroho told the AFP news agency: "I think there were only one or two shots and the other casualties were from shrapnel."

District official Agus Fakaubun said the pilot was hurt in the leg and the co-pilot in the hand.

The plane had arrived from another district of Papua.

"The aircraft had reached the end of the airstrip and was taxiing to park when a group of armed men shot at the aircraft from the nearby hills," he said.

The attackers had fled.

"The pilots lost control after getting hurt, and the aircraft ran into an airport building," Mr Fakaubun said.

Sunday's incident is the latest in a spate of gun attacks in the region.

Some have been near US mining giant Freeport McMoRan's Grasberg gold and copper mine.

In December, unidentified gunmen opened fire on an aircraft carrying Freeport workers, wounding one passenger.

Sunday's incident was not believed to be related to Freeport's operations.

Mulia is in Papua's Puncak Jaya district, which is believed to be a separatist hotbed.


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