The military search team had found the helicopter wreckage and 12 bodies of passengers and crews, but there was no sign of the firearms at the crash site in the Mandala Mountains, Oksop, Pegunungan Bintang.
"I have coordinated with the Indonesian Police Chief and called on local leaders, and religious leaders in Pegunungan Bintang District to hand over the 11 firearms to the police and the military," Tjahjanto said after a military ceremony to send the remains of four soldiers held at Silas Papare Air Base, Sentani, Jayapura Regency on Tuesday, February 18, 2020.
There is no deadline set for the villagers, Tjahjanto said. "I have met with several people to help in approaching people to voluntarily hand over the 11 firearms and its ammunition."
On the possibility that the weapons might have been seized by a separatist group in the region, he said, "I believe that they (the weapons) are being held by villagers."
As many as 12 people, including the crew members, were killed when an army helicopter M-17 crashed into the Mandala Mountains, Oksob, Pegunungan Bintang in June last year. The helicopter went missing while flying to Okbibab from Oksibil to deliver supplies to soldiers stationed there. The military helicopter was reportedly carrying seven SS-1 assault rifles, three guns, and one grenade launcher module (GLM).
The Papuan rebels had previously claimed that they had seized weapons and ammunition from the military helicopter. (Antara)