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Three Indonesian Police Killed in Papua

FILE - Police clash with protesters who gathered to rally against Indonesia's rule over the remote eastern Indonesian province of Papua, Dec. 1, 2015.

Indonesian officials are investigating a Sunday attack against a police station in the country's troubled Papua province that killed three police officers and wounded two others.

Maj. Gen. Anton Charlian, a spokesman for the national police, told reporters in Jakarta Monday that a special team has been deployed to Sinak town in the mountainous Puncak district to investigate the attack, in which a group of about 15 gunmen stole seven assault rifles and a crate of ammunition.

He declined to provide further details about the identities of the attackers or possible motives.

“It’s too early to say whether the attackers were from a separatist group operating in the region," he said. "We have deployed a special team ... to help the police in Papua. Hopefully we might arrest the attackers soon and find out their motives — criminal or political.”

The attack occurred ahead of a planned visit to the district by President Joko Widodo to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

The Free Papua Movement has continued fighting for independence in the province since it was transferred from the Dutch to Indonesia in 1963.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Indonesian service.