The raid and clashes in Dekai, Yahukimo District, Papua Pegunungan Province, have led to the internal displacement of 554 persons (see photo on top, source: Suara Papua). The internally displaced persons (IDPs) belong to 169 families from nine districts in the regency. The raid occurred shortly after an attack against a military post by West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) members on 21 August 2023. The shootout resulted in the death of one military member. Reports revealed acts of arbitrary arrests and torture during the raid.
Many IDPs have lost their homes and belongings. Security force members reportedly burned down twelve residential houses killing also livestock. Additionally. 15 pigs died due to lack of care after their owners fled their homes. Thirteen IDPs have fallen ill, highlighting the health challenges they are currently facing. A one-year-old baby named Yulian Matuan reportedly died on 13 September 2023.
Solidarity groups have opened a humanitarian post to collect humanitarian aid. According to local media, the Yahukimo Regency Government has assisted in the form of rice, necessities, and funds. Local government representatives have promised to relocate the IDPs for their safety and well-being.
The residents in Kali Bonto, a raided area in Dekai, were already relocated in 2018 due to tribal conflicts. They have experienced recurring acts of intimidation and harassment by security force members since 2021, causing them to live in constant fear.
People in West Papua, particularly the indigenous population, face harsh consequences of the armed conflict that has been ongoing for more than 50 years in the region. Security operations against the TPNPB are often accompanied by arbitrary violence against the indigenous population, including house burnings and fear. The situation has led residents in conflict areas to seek refuge and safety at other locations. Observers say that more than 60,000 people in West Papua have been internally displaced due to the armed conflict since 2019.
Human rights organisations have been raising concerns regarding excessive violence against civilians during security raids across West Papua. Torture, extrajudicial executions, internal displacements, and the destruction of private property, including burning residential houses and killing livestock, often accompany the raids. The same patterns of violations have occurred during similar raids in the regencies Intan Jaya, Puncak, and Pegunungan Bintang.
Most victims during such security raids are indigenous Papuans. The police and military members often stigmatise indigenous villagers as TPNPB members or collaborators. The TPNPB fights consist of armed guerrilla groups across all regencies in West Papua, who fight for the political independence of West Papua from the Republic of Indonesia.