Jayapura, Jubi – The Papua Police said nine members of The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) were killed in a crossfire in Puncak Regency on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.
“According to our field and digital data, nine members of the armed criminal group died,” Papua Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. AM Kamal said during a press conference on Wednesday.
“Armed criminal group”, or KKB in short, is the term used by the Indonesian government to call TPNPB. It recently adds another term for TPNPB: terrorists.
Kamal said that until Wednesday, the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the police had not found the bodies of the deceased TPNPB members. He assumed that the bodies had been taken by their friends.
Further, Kamal said that the armed altercation on Tuesday also prompted the TPNPB to withdraw its troops from Gome District. “Our counterattack repulsed the troops. The TPNPB retreated almost two kilometers from Gome District,” he said.
The TPNPB had yet to confirm the police’s statement about nine of its soldiers who died in a firefight.
Numerous sources contacted by Jubi on Wednesday reported that the residents of a number of villages in Gome District, North Gome District, Beoga District, and North Ilaga District, had left their hometowns during the armed altercation. As of Wednesday, some of the residents were still too scared to return home.
Kamal confirmed that the residents who heard the shooting fled to safer places such as churches. However, he denied there was a displaced people camp in Puncak. “They evacuated to churches, no camp,” he said, adding that the situation had turned normal in Puncak, Ilaga, and Beoga on Wednesday.
A resident who refused to be named said that the firefight between the TNI and police and the TPNPB on Tuesday had left the people traumatized. In evacuation sites, the food is limited as more residents reportedly took shelter on Wednesday.
“The people currently need food and healthcare workers to treat people who are sick. Some of these people have already gotten sick before there were displaced people, ” they said.
“The residents of Misimaga Village, Tegelobak Village, and Upaga Village took refuge in the yard of a church in Ninggibome Village, Omukia District. Meanwhile, the people of Gome Village gathered in the Gome Church. The church and the government helped the evacuation process,” they said.
Some of the people in North Ilaga District, such as the residents of Mayuberi Village, Maki Village, and Paluga Village, as well as the residents of Mundidok Village in North Gome District, also reportedly left homes.
A Jubi source in Beoga said that the TNI and police had arrived at Tinggilibet Village, causing the residents of Tinggilibet and Dambet Village to leave homes and went to Wangbe District.
“The people of Dambet and Tinggilibet have left their homes. They are traumatized so they cannot stay in their villages. We cannot confirm the number [of refugees] yet,” they said.
Editor: Aryo Wisanggeni G