Wed, 23 Jul 2003

Army soldier missing in Papua

JAYAPURA, Papua: Members of the Trikora Regional Military Command have been trying to find their field commander Second Sgt. Irpan Efendi, who went missing on June 28, chief of the regional command Major GT Situmorang said.

Irpan went missing while he was patrolling Bewani village with a dog near the Indonesian Papua province-Papua New Guinea border, Situmorang confirmed here Tuesday.

Bewani village is known as a stronghold of the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM), which has been trying to set up an independent state within the underdeveloped resource-rich province since the 1960s.

Before Irpan went missing, he was running alone in the direction of his dog, who was barking, but hours later the dog came back without his master, Situmorang said.

Irpan's subordinates then tried to find their chief but failed, he said. -- Antara