Dec. 5 (UPI) — Gunmen killed up to 31 construction workers in the Indonesian province of Papua while working on a major highway, officials said Tuesday.
Jayawijaya police chief Yan Pieter Reba said authorities were still verifying information about the attack, which took place Sunday while the workers were building a road to Kali-Yigi-kali Urak in Nduga, the Jakarta Post reported.
“The information is that 24 people were killed in the workers’ camp. Another eight people managed to escape to the residence of a local councillor. But seven of them are now reportedly dead, while another has escaped,” he said.
Police said one of the workers witnessed a pro-independence rally held by the National Liberation Army of West Papua, an armed group linked to the Free Papua Movement, and decided to take a photo.
“[What he did] angered [the group], so they killed the workers staying in the camp,” Reba said.
Officials said most of the construction workers killed in the attack were brought in from the island of Sulawesi, The New York Times reported.
Police officers and soldiers were attempting to reach the area where the attack took place.