Military operation in Lanny Jaya claims lives of two indigenous villagers and causes internal displacement

Local human rights organisations have documented a further military raid in the Balingga District of Lanny Jaya Regency, Papua Province. According to the Papuan Institute of Human Rights Studies and Advocacy (ELSHAM Papua), the Indonesian military infantry (TNI-AD) launched several attacks against the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB) in the area around the Timonikime Village on 2 and 4 December 2019. The military members allegedly searched multiple houses in the village of Timonikime. According to information on ELSHAM Papua’s website, seven houses were burnt to the ground and two indigenous villagers named Abokman Tabuni and Diron Tabuni were killed during the raid. Indigenous Papuans from the villages Timonikime and Manggalome reportedly fled to the surrounding forests because they feared repressive acts by the military members. The total number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in relation to the incident is currently unkown.

The raid was a response to an exchange of fire between TNI-AD and TPN-PB forces on 1 December 2019 in the village of Timonikime, where military members implemented a social aid program. According to the news outlet Jubi, the local government evacuated Non-Papuan motorcycle taxi drivers and teachers from the districts Malagai, Balingga, Popome and Pirime to the town of Tiom, to prevent a further escalation of the violent conflict.

The armed conflict in the Papuan central highlands has significantly exacerbated since early December 2018, when TPN-PB fighters killed 19 government contractors in the regency of Nduga. Particularly alarming is the significant increase in the number of civilians killed. One-hundred-eighty nine indigenous Papuans from the Nduga regency - the majority of them women and children - have reportedly died  as a result of violence or internal displacement between 2 December 2018 and 10 October 2019, while thousands have been displaced.

A second military operation is taking place in the Regency of Puncak. The number of IDPs in relation to the military raid reportedly reached 1,500 indigenous victims.