“The clashes broke out when 25 troops came under fire from dozens of rebels in Nduga district.
“We fought them but three of our members were killed,’’ Papuan military spokesman, Col. Muhammad Aidi, said.
Aidi said soldiers found the body of one suspected insurgent.
“We saw them carry their members who were shot.
“We believe at least five of them were killed because five guns were left behind,’’ he added.
Aidi said the attackers were believed to be part of a rebel faction led by Egianus Kagoya, who claimed responsibility for the killings of 19 workers who were building a road in Nduga district in early December.
Kagoya accused the workers of being members of the military’s engineering detachment.
Thursday’s clashes came after the military announced on Tuesday it was sending 600 reinforcements to Nduga to resume the construction of the Trans-Papua road.
The road was previously contracted to a state-owned construction company.
Indonesian capital eases partial lockdown rules
Jakarta’s Governor Anies Baswedan on Thursday announced that the partial lockdown remains in place this month in the hope it would lead to a transition into a healthy, safe and productive circumstance.
“We decided to prolong the large-scale social restrictions in Jakarta and made this month as a transition period,” he told a video briefing.
Baswedan said some public transports will get back to normal operations and worship houses will start reopening on Friday, but mall shopping centers will be allowed to reopen later on June 15, as all of them have to abide by new social restrictions.
“Still, if we see a leap in the number of cases or casualties, we will not hesitate to apply emergency strides,” he added.
Jakarta which is also the business center in the country and home to about 11 million people has been hit the hardest by the novel coronavirus since it was first detected on March 3, but as of late the virus transmission has reduced.
As of Thursday, the number of virus infection cases settled at 7,539 with 529 deaths, according to the city administration.
Indonesian president asks for scaling up tests ahead of new normal
The provinces of East Java, South Sulawesi and South Kalimantan where the infection rates stay afloat have to be put in priority efforts to curb the coronavirus transmission, the president told a limited cabinet meeting at the State Palace.
“On the tests of specimens, my previous target of 10,000 per day has been passed, and the next target is 20,000 specimens per day. We have to set up a plan for the achievement,” Widodo said.
“I ask for more aggressive tracings by taking advantage of the communication technology, and ignoring the conventional ways,” he remarked.
Taking examples of the usage of a digital diary in New Zealand and the Mobile GPS (Global Positioning System) technology being developed by South Korea, the president said the tracings of the infected people could be well monitored.
“I want the COVID-19 task force, the Health Ministry, the military and the police to concentrate more in the three provinces where the transmission rates are still high, so that the rates can be edged lower,” the president said.
Indonesia has made progress on scaling up testings, albeit the effort remains insufficient as the vast-archipelagic country’s population settles at over 260 million people.
The total specimens tested in Indonesia increased to 345,434 from 246,433 people, according to the data from the task force.
The country has planned to reopen economic activities particularly those in the areas where the virus infection has been obliterated or subdued, along with the implementation of a new normal scenario.
Indonesian security forces nab rebel for allegedly shooting dead foreigner in Papua
Indonesian security forces have arrested a separatist who allegedly shot dead a New Zealand citizen who worked for the mining company PT Freeport Indonesia in the country’s easternmost province of Papua recently, a police officer said on Tuesday.
The rebel with an initial of TW was one of the 10 attackers of PT Freeport Indonesia which operates the Grasberg mining field, the largest gold mining and the second largest copper mining sites in the world.
The incident which occurred on March 30 also left two other employees of the firm injured.
The Provincial Police’s Chief Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw said that TW, a member of the separatist group which the government called a criminal armed group, was nabbed on Friday in the province’s city of Timika.
During the arrest, Waterpauw said, the security forces seized scores of ammunitions, according to local media.
The Papua-based OPM, which has been seeking an independence through guerrilla wars since decades ago, also targeted soldiers, police personnel and civilians.
Indonesian minister under fire for comparing virus to wives
The Indonesian government is preparing to lift partial lockdowns in parts of the country in early June and adopt what it calls “the new normal.”
“The other day I got a meme from my colleague Luhut Pandjaitan that says: Corona is like your wife. Initially you tried to control it, then you realise that you can’t. Then you learn to live with it,” he said in English.
Pandjaitan is the minister for maritime affairs and investment.
The off-the-cuff remarks drew ire from women’s rights groups.
“Not only does the statement reflect the incompetence of the government in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, it also demonstrates the sexist and misogynistic attitudes of public officials,” the Women’s Solidarity Society said in a statement.
“Jokes that objectify women will only normalise the culture of violence against women,” it said.
Indonesians on social media joined the criticism.
“A man who marries a woman with the intention to control her is horrifying. Comparing a woman to a virus is an insult to the dignity of women,” a Twitter user named Deslina wrote.
Indonesia is deploying 340,000 security personnel in four provinces – Jakarta, West Java, West Sumatra and Gorontalo – to enforce “the new normal,” Armed Forces chief Air Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said.
They have been tasked with ensuring the public observe health guidelines set out by the government, including wearing masks and respecting social distancing.
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Indonesia rose to 24,538 on Thursday, an increase of 687 from the previous day.
An additional 23 deaths brought the number of fatalities to 1,496.
The government has been accused by some experts of under-reporting cases of infections due to low rates of testing.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
Indonesian big cities likely enter new normal phase early June with declining COVID-19 infection rate
The Indonesian capital of Jakarta and other big cities are very likely to enter a new normal phase in the beginning of June as the country is seeking to a pickup in business activities.
Indonesian Chief Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto said on Wednesday that Jakarta, which is also a business hub in the country, and six other provinces will be ready for the new normal scenario implementation after June 4.
The readiness for shifting to the new phase was backed up by the subdued infection rate in the provinces, said the minister.
The infection level is gauged by a basic reproduction number (R0). R0 settling at below 1 suggests that the number of new infection be classified as low.
“Based on the R0 measurement, some provinces have heralded readiness for a new normal after June 4,” he said.
For the new phase, Hartarto asked the provincial administrations to prepare health protocols before reopening economic activities in their areas.
Security forces will enforce the rules in the protocols to ensure that people will abide by them, said Hartarto.
Indonesia has dispatched almost 350,000 soldiers and policemen to transport facilities, mall shopping centers, tourist destinations and other spots where mass may gather to ensure the health protocols well implemented.
The minister said that the strong enforcement of the rules aimed at preventing the second surge of the COVID-19 infection in the country, which could abort the implementation of the new normal scenario.
In addition to the capital city and other provinces, as many as 110 other cities and districts across the country classified in the green zone have no infection case so far, meaning they are also ready with the new normal scenario, he said.
Previously, the COVID-19 Task Force’s Chief Doni Monardo offered relaxation of partial lockdown rules to allow reopening of the economic activities.
Although the infection cases in some other provinces remain staying afloat, as a whole the number of daily infection cases has drifted down from the record high of nearly 1,000 cases recently, according to the Health Ministry.
As of Wednesday, the ministry reported 686 new daily cases, bringing the total to 23,851 with 1,473 fatalities.
Indonesian police arrest 2 foreigners in drug bust in Banten province
Indonesian authorities have arrested a Pakistani and a Yemeni in a drug bust in the province of Banten.
At a press conference in Banten’s city of Serang on Saturday, the National Police’s criminal investigation department chief, Listyo Sigit Prabowo, said that the police arrested the suspects on Friday evening when the suspects were trying to move about 820 kg of methamphetamine to boxes.
The contraband smuggled from Iran was hidden at a house in a residential area in Serang, Prabowo said, adding that the bandits pretended to be spice traders.
He said the investigation into the case has been underway since last December.
Prabowo said the police received information about groups of drug traffickers who were set to make some transactions on Friday.
“Last night, the two targets were moving the methamphetamine to boxes they had prepared. The team raided them,” Prabowo was quoted by Indonesian news website Detik.com as saying.
The suspects may face death penalty in Indonesia if they are proven guilty.
Indonesian Muslims line up with social distancing to get free food for Iftar
Covid-19 isolation forces Indonesians to abandon contraceptives
An Indonesian official on Thursday said restrictions to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus had forced 10 per cent of couples in Indonesia to abandon contraception.
According to the Head of the National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN), Hasto Wardoyo, lack of access to contraceptives could result to 420,000 pregnancies during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The government estimates that three million couples stopped using contraceptives between March and April and 15 per cent of them could end up being pregnant.
“With an additional 420,000 births next year, population growth in Indonesia could surge dramatically. If you plan to get pregnant, now is not the right time,” Wardoyo said.
According to government data nearly five million babies are born every year, and some 28 million couples used contraceptives in 2019.
Health officials in Tasikmalaya, a district in West Java, reported that the pregnancy rate doubled in the January-March period compared to 2019.
Indonesia recorded 973 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the largest single-day rise so far, taking the national tally to 20,162.
The death toll rose to 1,278, after 36 additional deaths were recorded overnight.
Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Salif Atojoko (NAN)
Indonesian capital extends again partial lockdown as cases leap
The Indonesian capital of Jakarta, which is hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, on Tuesday decided to prolong a large-scale social restriction as the number of virus infections spikes in the country.
Jakarta’s governor Anies Baswedan announced that the partial lockdown is extended for another 14 days until June 4.
The governor of the city urged the citizens to obey the rules on the restriction to rein the virus spread in the capital of over 10 million people.
“This would be the last extension of the partial lockdown if we obey disciplinary rules,” he said at an online press conference.
The virus has infected 6,155 people in Jakarta with 1,329 others recovering, both figures are the biggest in the country, the health ministry announced on Tuesday, adding that a total of 487 citizens have died from COVID-19 in Jakarta.
The capital city of Jakarta first imposed the partial lockdown from April 10 to April 23, and extended it until May 22.
The COVID-19 spread has accelerated again across Indonesia since days ago with the daily record on the cases ranging from 400 to 500, rising from the level of 200 to 300 per day.
The growing cases has led President Joko Widodo to quash easing partial lockdowns across the country, citing that the decision on the matter would rely much on the improvement of data on the infected persons and casualties.
On Tuesday, the health ministry reported 486 new infection cases of the virus across Indonesia, bringing the total to 18,496 with 1,221 casualties. Enidtem
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