Update on armed conflict in Puncak Regency – TPN PB suggests armed combat shifted to designated area

The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) has proposed to Indonesian security forces to move the armed conflict into a designated area in order to prevent civilian casualties and reduce the stresses for indigenous civilians living in the Puncak Regency. The TPN PB spokesperson, Sebby Sambom, suggested the Puncak estuary in the Ilaga District as the new combat area. According to Sambom, the TPN PB has gathered its guerrilla groups in the estuary area, where they wait for Indonesian security forces to move in.

Sambom explained that security forces conduct raids and other activities mainly near indigenous villages in the districts Ilaga and Gome, causing fear among local residents and preventing them from following essential daily activities, such as gardening and collecting fire wood. Moreover, TPN PB informants in Puncak had reported that security forces seize mobile phones, in order to prevent local residents in Puncak from sharing information on human rights violations with NGOs and the media. Sambom underlined that the TPN PB will not hide among civilians, but is ready to fight the security forces in the designated combat area.