Situation in Maybrat Regency – Army arrests two Papuans in Kisor

The military has started to conduct raids around the Kisor Village area following the killing of four military members on 2 September 2021. Shortly after the incident, the villagers in Kisor, Aifat Selatan District, fled their homes in fear of reprisals by security force members. On 2 September 2021, members of the 762/VYS military battalion and the 1809 Maybrat Military Command (Kodim 1809 Maybrat) reportedly arrested Simon Waymbewer, 26, and Maikel Yaam, 17 years (see photo on top, source: Suara Papua). They are reportedly detained at the Sorong Selatan District Police Station. The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB) spokesperson claims responsibility for the attack against the military post declared that Simon Waymbewer and Maikel Yaam are civilians and neither affiliated with the TPN-PB nor involved in the killings.

Further internal displacements were reported from eight villages in the Aifat Selatan District and at least three neighbouring districts, namely Aifat Timur, Aifat Timur Tengah, and Aifat Timur Jauh. Local observers have estimated the total number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Maybrat at 2,000, mainly women and children. They have built shelters in the surrounding forest and are afraid to return to their villages (see photo below, source: independent human rights defenders). The Governor of Papua Barat province called upon the IDPs in Aifat Selatan to return to their villages.  

According to the KODAM XVIII Military Command spokesperson, Hendra Pesireron, between 100 and 150 military members have been deployed to Maybrat to chase down the perpetrators.

IDPs Aifat 4The Sorong Selatan District Police Chief, Choiruddin Wachid, declared that the members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) in Kisor were responsible for the killing of the military members. The KNPB denied the claim in a public statement, stressing that their organisation only engages in peaceful action for the right to self-determination.

Human rights organisations are concerned that the allegations against the KNPB are another attempt to criminalize the organisation. On 9 May 2021, members of the Nemangkawi police task force arrested Victor Yeimo, the international spokesperson of the KNPB. He was charged with various criminal charges in relation to a series of protests against racism in August and September 2019. The police and the public prosecutor have detained Victor Yeimo in an isolation cell at the Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) headquarters in Jayapura. His lawyers raised repeated concerns over multiple criminal procedure violations during the detention at the Brimob headquarters. A trial against Victor Yeimo was indefinitely adjourned due to his deteriorating health condition