Update on armed conflict in Nduga: Number of casualties on the rise as armed clashes continue

  • Print

The Foundation for Justice and the Integrity of Papuan Peoples (YKKMP) has published a new report with updated information on the current situation in the regency of Nduga. Since the beginning of a widespread security force operation on 4 December 2018, journalists, human rights defenders and observers are restricted from going to the Nduga Regency. The number of civilian casualties is rising as the armed clashes between Indonesian security forces and the West Papua Liberation Army continues. Local human rights organisations have documented the cases of at least eleven indigenous Papuans, who have been killed by security force members since the commencement of the military operations (see table below), which have been ongoing since 4 December 2018.

 Victim Torture MapendumaA man living with mental disabilities named Yuwes Gwijangge was tortured in the Nirkuri district. Members of the military hit him with a rifle butt to the forehead (see image on the right), causing a bleeding injury and beat him to the neck. Subsequently, soldiers allegedly tied him with a rope and pulled him over the airstrip.  

Human rights defenders reported that the churches in the Mapenduma district were empty when they visited the area on 26 January 2019. Most people have left their village and fled to neighbouring regencies or the surrounding forests in fear of repressive acts by military forces.  The church of the Sion Congregation in Mapenduma was reportedly occupied by members of the military for one week.

A team from the health agency of Papua Province visited the districts of Mbuwa and Dal to provide health services to internally displaced persons (IDPs) form both districts and the district of Mbulmu Yalma. However, human rights defenders stated that the members of the military monitored the health services. The presence of military in health facilities prevent sick and injured indigenous people from accessing urgently needed health services because many IDPs are traumatized and afraid of security forces. Members of the Yonif 751 Raider military command used a health centre (PUSKESMAS) in the Mapenduma District as security post unbeknownst by the head of the heath care facility.

Civilian Houses Military Raid MapendumaHuman rights defenders also documented that security force members allegedly vandalised several small stores owned by local indigenous entrepreneurs and took some of the goods. The security force members allegedly damaged the doors of multiple houses and devastated the interior (see image on the left) as they combed villages in the Mapenduma District for members of the armed resistance movement. While civilians more than 2000 IDPs from the Nduga Regency have reportedly fled to the Jayawijaya Regency alone, armed clashes between the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB) and Indonesian security forces continue. On 7 March 2019, TPN-PB forces opened fire at a group of military members in Windi Village, Derakma District, after the military members had allegedly set five civilian houses on fire. At least three Indonesian soldiers were killed during the fire fight. The TPN-PB claimed that an indigenous civilian named Amiri Nimiage (52 years) was killed by the military forces.

The Indonesian military reacted through deployment of additional military units to West Papua. On 9 March 2019, approximately 600 personnel arrived at the Timika Port (see Intro Image) – the soldiers will be deployed to the Nduga Regency, as part of the Governments strategy to take prompt and hard action against the TPN-PB. A second exchange of fire on 20 March 2019 in the District of Mugi caused the death of a mobile brigade police officer – two other officers were injured by bullets.

Table with victims of Extra-judicial Killings during the security force operation in Nduga Regency

No

Name of victim

Age

District

Description

1

Mentus Nimiangge

21 years

Yigi

Shot to the neck on 4 December 2018 during the air raids, bullet pierced the victim's body, exiting near the left shoulder blade, the victim died on 15 December 2018, as a result of the bullet wound

2

Mianus Lokbere

18 years

Yigi

sustained bullet wound during air raid on 4 December as he fled in the forest when the helicopters attacked, the rotten body was found in the morning of 13 December 2018

3

Nison Umangge

18 years

Yigi

sustained bullet wound during air raid on 4 December as he fled in the forest when the helicopters attacked, the family discovered his body on 13 December 2018

4

Rocky Lani

N/A

Mapenduma

Shot to the forehead

5

Pirando Gwijangge

N/A

Mapenduma

was shot dead on 18 December 2018 as he was walking with several friends in the forest

6

Boas Kogoya

N/A

Mapenduma

sustained bullet wound in the right chest and the left thigh as he was running to the river

7

Rev. Gemin Nirigi

85 years

Mapenduma

shot dead by members of the military, the body was allegedly burned together with his mattress behind his house

8

Keri Gwijangge

30 years

Nirkuri

Shot dead

9

Rabu Gwijangge

50 years

Nirkuri

Shot in the chest and other parts of the body

10

Alilius Nimiangge

N/A

Yigi

Burned alive inside his wooden hut

11

Salina Gwijangge

N/A

Nirkuri

Suffered severe burnings, body turned black after coming into contact with of smoke, as military dropped explosives during air raid