Deaths reported on both sides in firefight during work on trans-Papua highway

As many as 15 people are believed to have been killed in a firefight between Indonesian soldiers and Papuan independence fighters, adding to more than two dozen deaths in the simmering conflict since November.

Indonesia’s military said three of its soldiers, and seven to 10 independence fighters, died on Thursday when a force of 50 to 70 rebels carrying firearms as well as spears and arrows attacked a group of 25 soldiers in a battle lasting several hours.

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