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3 Indonesian soldiers, 5 rebels killed in Papua clashes

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“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.

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