Sabinus Waker-led armed group set ablaze MAF aircraft: military

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) – Some 10 armed Papuan criminals, who torched a Mission Aviation Fellowship’s (MAF’s) Quest Kodiak aircraft at the Pagamba Village airstrip, Intan Jaya, Papua, on January 6, were led by Sabinus Waker, a military officer stated.

The notorious armed men set ablaze the utility aircraft shortly after American pilot Alek Luferchek disembarked his two passengers, Commander of the Cenderawasih Command Maj. Gen. Ignatius Yogo Triyono was quoted by ANTARA as saying here on Monday.

The act of torching the civilian aircraft, with registration number PK-MAX, was considered as being brutal on account of the fact that MAF’s planes have, since decades, conducted a noble mission for the Papuan communities, he noted.

Triyono admitted to none of the Indonesian soldiers being deployed around Pagamba Village in Mbiandoga Sub-district, Intan Jaya District, though instead in Sugapa Sub-district, Triyono remarked.

In connection with this incident, American pilot Luferchek had informed Papuan police officers that his aircraft was torched by around 10 men carrying assault rifles and guns.

The armed men abruptly emerged from some bushes soon after Luferchek landed the plane at the Pagamba Village airstrip at around 9:30 a.m. local time, according to Papua Police Chief, Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw.

Citing Luferchek’s statement, Waterpauw told journalists on Friday (January 8, 2021) that several residents, who spotted the armed men walking towards the aircraft, fled for safety.

The American pilot was reportedly ordered by the armed men to disembark from the utility aircraft. Pointing their rifles and guns at Luferchek, the men ordered him to sit on the ground, Waterpauw revealed.

Shortly thereafter, the group unloaded the aircraft’s cargo of food supply and then vandalized and set the plane ablaze, he remarked, adding that the 32-year-old pilot managed to escape the attackers.

Luferchek walked for some three hours before managing to reach a church complex in Togai Village, Waterpauw stated.

On Thursday (January 7, 2021), the pilot was picked up by another helicopter, piloted by Nathan Fagerlie, also an American citizen, he noted.

Waterpauw remarked that Fagerlie also worked for the MAF.

Police in the districts of Nabire and Intan Jaya of Papua Province had launched a probe into the torching of the aircraft, operated by MAF, an organization that has been conducting a Christian mission in Papua since 1952.

Source: Antara News

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