Update on situation in Maybrat – more than 2,768 indigenous peoples from 50 villages displaced as security operation goes on

The Civil Society Coalition for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Maybrat (KMSPPM) published new data on the current situation in Maybrat on 2 October 2021. According to a press release, more than 2768 indigenous Papuans from 50 Villages in the districts Aifat Selatan, Aifat Timur, Aifat Timur Jauh, Aifat Timur Tengah and Aifat Timur Selatan have fled their homes. They fear being arbitrarily arrested or tortured during the security force operation in Maybrat, which has been ongoing since 2 September 2021. The IDPs sought shelter (see photo, source: independent HRDs) in the nearby districts Aiyawasi, Kumurkek, Aitinyo, and other regencies, such as South Sorong, Bintuni, and Sorong.

The coalition counted 40 older adults, four pregnant women, 338 minors, and 17 infants among IDPs originating from the Aifat Selatan District. As of 2 October 2021, 51 of these IDPs experience health issues. One IDP has reportedly died.

Moreover, the coalition alleges the police and military carried out arbitrary arrest and torture to force confessions from those arrested. The police compiled a list of 17 suspects shortly after the attack on the Kisor military post. All names on the list are affiliated with the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), a civil resistance movement that promotes the right to self-determination through peaceful means. Lawyers who talked to relatives of suspects claim that the list was not compiled based on a professional criminal investigation. However, multiple relatives confirmed that the suspects were with them as the attack occurred.

As of 13 September 2021, security force members have arrested thirteen indigenous villagers since the operation began. The number of arrestees quickly rose to 31 by the end of September 2021. At least three IDPs were reportedly tortured. The police have pressed charges against eight of the arrestees. According to the information received, all of them are minors. Twenty-three arrested IDPs have been released. The arbitrary arrests targeted mostly young Papuans below the age of 18 years. Seventeen of the 31 arrestees were children and adolescents.

The security force raids in Maybrat occurred in response to an armed attack by the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) against a military post in the Kisor Village, Aifat Selatan District, on 2 September 2021. Four soldiers were killed and two injured during the attack.