JAYAPURA, Indonesia (AP) — A group of about 15 gunmen attacked a police station in Indonesia’s restive Papua province, killing three officers and wounding two others, police said Monday.
Local police spokesman Col. Patrige Renwarin said the assailants attacked the station in Sinak town in the mountainous district of Puncak late Sunday while the victims were watching television.
He said the attackers took away seven assault rifles and a crate of ammunition.
Police are investigating the motive for the attack, which occurred ahead of a planned visit by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to the province.
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Jokowi is planning to visit Papua to celebrate the New Year in the province, where a giant U.S.-owned mine run by Phoenix, Arizona-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. is located.
In the capital, Jakarta, national police spokesman Maj. Gen. Anton Charliyan said it was too early to say whether the attackers were from separatist groups operating in the region.
A low-level insurgency for independence has continued in the region since it was transferred from Dutch to Indonesian rule in 1963.
In 2013, gunmen killed seven unarmed soldiers in Sinak, about 3,500 kilometers (2,175 miles) east of Jakarta.