Updated: 02/21/2013 15:48 | By Agence France-Presse

Gunmen kill eight soldiers in Indonesian Papua

Unidentified gunmen shot dead eight soldiers and seriously wounded another in two separate incidents in Indonesia's restive Papua region on Thursday, a military spokesman said.

"A total of eight soldiers were shot dead in two different locations this morning," Papua province military spokesman Jansen Simanjuntak told AFP.

The first incident took place in the district of Puncak Jaya at 9:30 am local time (0030 GMT), when an armed group opened fire on a military post in Tingginambut village, killing one soldier and injuring another, he said.

The second attack occurred an hour later in the neighbouring district of Sinak, some 60 kilometres away (37-mile), when armed attackers shot at nine soldiers walking to a nearby airport, killing seven.

Simanjuntak said the perpetrators had not been identified.

Gun attacks are common in Papua, in Indonesia's extreme east, where poorly-armed separatists have for decades fought a low-level insurgency on behalf of the mostly ethnic Melanesian population.

The mountainous Puncak Jaya district is a known hideout for armed separatists.

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