JAYAPURA, KOMPAS.com – The number of civilians fleeing the crossfire between Indonesian military forces and insurgents or Armed Criminal Groups [KKB] in Papua province’s Intan Jaya regency continued to increase, as the conflict showed no signs of letting up.
The Pastoral Complex for the Santo Mikael Catholic church at Intan Jaya’s Sugapa district noted that the number of displaced persons seeking shelter from the village of Mamba have increased to over a thousand people by the beginning of the week.
“Another 600 persons from Mamba fled to the church, joining 400 to 500 others who fled here last week,” said P. Marthen Kuayo, the administrator for the Timika Diocese on Tuesday. Mamba was the site of a firefight that left a Private Ginandjar dead on February 15.
“They were picked up by Father Yustinus Rahangiar following the shootout. That was the latest news we were able to get from Sugapa, as telecommunications to the area were cut off.” Marthen added that he hoped to re-establish contact with Sugapa soon.
He noted that other officials, such as Intan Jaya regent Natalis Tabuni, regency head of police Grand Commissioner Attendant I Wayan G. Antara and Lieutenant Colonel Benny Wahyudi, the military chief for the town of Nabire, cannot be reached.
The armed criminal groups have intensified their activities since last January, as they indiscriminately attacked civilians as well as military and police personnel alike.
The insurgency's civilian victims included a motorcycle taxi driver earlier this February and Papuan priest Yeremia Zanambani last September.
The authorities have determined that there are at least two groups of insurgents in Intan Jaya which are led by Undius Kogoya and Sabinus Waker, respectively. Neither group claimed responsibility for the latest unrest.
(Writer: Dhias Suwandi, Jayapura Contributor | Editor : Robertus Belarminus)