Update Armed Conflict in Nduga Regency: CSOs estimate a total number of 177 fatalities and more than 5.000 IDPs

The solidarity team for Nduga released a report and fact sheet on 18 July 2019 in Jakarta. According to the latest information, the armed conflict in Nduga has resulted in the deaths of 177 persons, 5 cases of disappearances and 5.201 internally displaced persons between early December 2018 and end of June 2019. The team emphasized that the figures are preliminary because the geographical conditions and the ongoing armed conflict still prevent journalists and observers from covering in the Nduga Regency. Many indigenous families continue to hide in the forest, where they live under extreme difficult conditions, facing malnutrition, hypothermia and no access to healthcare. An attempt by the head of the Papuan representative office of the national human rights commission (KOMNAS HAM Perwakilan Papua) to meet with IDPs in Nduga was aborted after members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB) opened fire at his helicopter.

Solidarity group representatives explained that thousands of IDPs from Nduga still face difficulties to access food, healthcare and education. IDPs who decided to flee to neighbouring regencies are still better off than those who stayed in Nduga. The majority of IDPs come from the district of Mbuwa. According to latest counts, 1.985 residents from Mbuwa fled to neighbouring regencies like Lanny Jaya and Jayawijaya. A temporary school that was built after the first refugee wave arrived in Wamena is dilapidated (see intro image).  Other IDPs reportedly come from the districts of Yigi (692 persons), Dal (541 persons), Mbulmuyalma (405 persons), Yal (405 persons), Mugi (256 persons), Nitkuri (254 persons), Mam (208 persons), Iniknggal (108 persons), Kageyam (128 persons), Mapenduma (100 persons), Meborok (17 persons) and Koroptok (12 persons) (see graphic below). Only a small number of refugees have reportedly returned to their home villages.

Number of IDPs segregated by district of origin (Source: JUBI, Information collected by humanitarian volunteers)

Graphic IDP fatalities Nduga JUBI edit


Activists report that IDPs in the Jayawijaya regency suffer from multiple diseases – the most common forms of illnesses among IDPs are acute respiratory infections, diarrhea, anemia, myalgia and dysentry. The recent death of two-year-old Riantena Telenggen in Wamena is representative of the difficult conditions that IDPs in the Jayawijaya regency are facing. Riantena suffered acute diarrhea for one week before she passed away on 18 July 2018. Same like Riantena, at least 40 out of 139 deceased IDPs were less than five years old. According to the solidarity team, four indigenous villagers were shot dead by security forces and five indigenous villagers disappeared. Seventeen security force members have died since the outbreak of armed violence in early December 2018.

The team asks the government to withdraw security forces from the Nduga Regency in order to allow IDPs to return to their villages. They emphasize that the IDPs - particularly the children – are traumatized by the security force operations and fear the presence of police and military members in their villages.