Security force operation in Puncak Regency – about 800 indigenous IDPs flee their homes

According to multiple Papuan media outlets, a security force operation in the Gome District of the highland regency Puncak has resulted in the displacement of several hundred indigenous peoples, mainly women and children. Between 24 and 26 August 2019, joint security forces have conducted raids in the villages Tegelobak, Mitimaga, Kelanungin, Upaga and Ninggabuma with the goal to arrest Goliat Tabuni and Anton Tabuni, two commanders of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) controlling some areas in the regencies of Puncak and Puncak Jaya. An exchange of fire between the security forces and the TPN PB was reported from Mitimaga on 24.08.2018 around 3.00 pm.

The local parliament member, Yanes Murib, informed the Papuan media outlet Jubi that approximately 20 houses in Tegelobak burned to the ground during the operation. Many houses in the village of Ninggabuma were allegedly destroyed during the raid. While some villagers sought temporary shelter in the surrounding forests and neighboring districts, about 800 internally displaced persons (IDPs) reportedly fled to the village of Yenggernok, where they were accommodated in tents in front of the Gome Presbyterial office of the Papua Tabernacle Church (KINGMI Papua). The health condition of the IDPs was reportedly stable. However, the children among these IDPs have no possibility to attend school. A local hospital donated clothes, snacks and financial contributions for the IDPs.