Puncak Regency
The office of Puncak Regent in Puncak Regency, Papua, taken in 2015. Courtesy of Wikiwand.

653 residents flee home to West Papua’s Ilaga while thousands go to the forests


Jayapura, Jubi – The Puncak Regency administration has recorded 653 internally displaced people from the Mabugi District and North Ilaga District in the city center of Ilaga. Meanwhile, the administration said thousands more people went to the forests. These people left their villages since armed clashes erupted in several regions in Puncak on April 27, 2021 between the security forces and the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB).


“There are 282 people from Mabugi and 371 people from North Ilaga. There are also refugees from four villages in Ilaga District namely Wuloni Village, Tagaloa, Kalebut, and Kimak. They are taking shelter in Kimak Street until Iringame I and II. Some refugees are in the local government housing,” said Puncak Social Agency head Peniel Wakerkwa on Tuesday, May 25, 2021.


Wakerkwa added that the majority of civilians in Puncak fled to the forests. The Puncak administration predicted there were 3,000 displaced people from Mabugi District, 3,000 from North Ilaga District, 800 from Kimak Village, and 900 from Tagaloa Village who seek safety in the forests.



Wakerkwa said that most of the people who were taking refuge in Ilaga were poor and struggling to survive in the shelter. “The residents who have money have fled to neighboring cities such as Timika, Nabire, and Jayapura,” he added.


He said that the people were currently unable to carry out normal activities in Ilaga because of the ongoing armed conflict. “The people cannot move freely to find food because the TNI [Indonesian Military] and police are all standby. People cannot go farming [as well],” he said.


He further claimed that his party had delivered some aids to the refugees in Ilaga. However, he also said that the government also needed the people’s hand in helping the refugees.


“We from the Social Agency hope that the people will help us [to help the refugees] with staples and rice because we are also having difficulty to find food in Ilaga City,” he said.


Reporter: Hengky Yeimo

Editor: Aryo Wisanggeni G

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