Rebels in Indonesia’s restive Papua province killed a construction worker and seriously injured three others in an attack at a construction site, police said Friday.

Nineteen other workers were unharmed “but experienced trauma” from the attack, which occurred on Thursday, according to a statement from Papua police spokesperson Ignatius Benny Ady Prabowo.

The 23-member construction crew was resting in their tents in Eromaga village in Puncak district when nine members of a rebel group attacked them with sharp weapons including arrows.


Security officers rushed to the scene after hearing about the attack, but the rebels escaped before they arrived.

Police and military officers were securing the area to prevent further attacks. They transferred the body and the wounded workers to a hospital in another district.

Security forces were working to track down the attackers, Prabowo said.

Papua, a former Dutch colony in the western part of New Guinea, is ethnically and culturally distinct from much of Indonesia. Conflicts between indigenous Papuans and Indonesian security forces are common.

Papua was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 after a U.N.-sponsored ballot that was widely seen as a sham. Since then, a low-level insurgency has simmered in the region, which is divided into two provinces, Papua and West Papua.

Attacks have spiked in the past year, with dozens of rebels, security forces and civilians killed.

Seven people were killed on Monday after rebel gunmen attacked dozens of gold-mine workers in Yakuhimo district.