Separatist snipers kill soldier in Indonesia's Papua: Police

SORONG, Indonesia - Suspected separatist snipers hiding out in the mountains of Indonesia's Papua have shot dead a soldier, police said Monday, the latest attack on security forces in the restive eastern region.

The gunmen opened fire on soldiers guarding roads around Tingginambut village in West Papua province on Saturday as trucks delivered food and other essential supplies, local police spokesman I Gede Sumerta Jaya told AFP.

"The snipers started shooting at the soldiers from the mountains. A soldier was shot in the stomach and died in hospital," he said, adding that no one else was injured in the attack.

Police had opened an investigation and suspected the attackers were linked to a local leader of the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM) because "the modus operandi is similar to previous attacks", Jaya said.

Attacks on security forces are common in Papua, where poorly-armed militants have for decades fought an insurgency on behalf of the mostly ethnic Melanesian population.

Three people were killed in June in an attack claimed by separatists during which a soldier was shot dead and a civilian hacked to death.