IDP Update April 2024: New internal displacements in Paniai

As of April 2024, an estimated minimum of 76,919 people in West Papua, mostly indigenous Papuans, remain internally displaced due to the armed conflict in the region. While some two to three thousand people in the Maybrat Regency have reportedly returned home, new internal displacements have occurred in response to the assassination of a military member in the Paniai Regency on 11 April 2024. Those internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Maybrat who have returned to their villages live under a heavy security force presence, with access to government services in the area remaining limited.

Human Rights Monitor has not received updated information on the conditions faced by, or the number of, internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the regencies of Pegunungan Bintang, Intan Jaya, Nduga, and Puncak in the past six months. These areas remain extremely isolated from media coverage and human rights reporting due to the heavy presence of security forces and ongoing clashes between them and the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB). Isolated information from local sources suggests a similar situation to that in the Suru-Suru District of Yahukimo Regency, where villages remain abandoned. Health and education facilities have been devastated and remain non-functional (see photo above, source: independent HRD).

The government continues to ignore the IDP crisis in West Papua, leaving the IDPs to fend for themselves without humanitarian access from either national or international organisations.

Paniai Regency

According to information from human rights defenders in Paniai, approximately 2,600 people from six villages in the districts Agadide and Ekadide, Paniai Regency, Papua Tengah Province, fled their homes following the assassination of a military member in Komopa Village, Agadide District, by members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) on 11 April 2024. They left their homes in fear of security raids in response to the killing. Local sources reported the mobilisation of security force personnel and transportation of military equipment to Paniai and neighbouring regencies on 16 April 2024.

Recent internal displacements were reported from the villages of Komopai, Iyobada, Tegougi, Pasir Putih, Keneugi, and Iteuwo. The IDPs sought shelter in the towns Madi and Enarotali. Some IDPs reportedly went to the neighbouring regencies Dogiyai, Deiyai, and Nabire.

Maybrat Regency

The refugee situation in Maybrat Regency, Papua Selatan Province, remains dire, with 3,387 civilians still residing in camps, boarding houses, or staying with relatives since 2021. These IDPs fled to various areas to escape escalating armed conflict following an attack by the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) on the Kisor Preparation Koramil Post in Maybrat Regency on 2 September 2021. Most originate from villages in the districts of Aifat Timur Jauh, Aifat Timur Tengah, Aifat Timur Selatan, and Aifat Timur.

The IDPs face significant hardships, including poor living conditions, limited access to education and healthcare, and minimal employment opportunities. An alarming 138 people have died in camps since 2021, underscoring the severity of the situation. Despite efforts by the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) to advocate for government intervention, little attention has been given to their needs, leaving them to rely on village funds and donations to meet their necessities.

IDPs who have returned to their villages have to live under close observation by the police and military, including security checkpoints in all larger villages. While the local government in Maybrat Regency has encouraged IDPs to return to their homes their return, there needs to be more guarantees for their safety and well-being upon resettlement. Several public schools in the villages Ayata, Faan Kahrio, and Kamat have been turned into military or police posts, posing additional challenges to those who have decided to return to Maybrat. According to information received, military members have also occupied several public buildings and residential houses (see photo below, source: Komnas HAM).

Suru-Suru District, Yahukimo Regency

Most IDPs from Suru-Suru have not returned to their villages as of February 2024. Education and health facilities have reportedly been devastated by security forces and continue to be dysfunctional. The military has erected permanent posts in the villages, causing fear among the displaced villagers to return. The soldiers reportedly supplied themselves by harvesting from peoples’ gardens, eating the villagers’ livestock, and taking the wooden boards from the local Junior highschool for building a military post (see photos below, source: independent HRDs).

The military also closed an important airstrip in the area, forcing people in Suru-Suru to access the district only through the river from Dekai. Everybody using this waterway must report to the Dekai harbor military post before leaving. Most IDPs reportedly reside in shelters that they have set up in the swampy forest in the bordering area between the regencies Yahukimo and Asmath, exposing them to a high risk of getting infected with Malaria and other diseases. 


As of July 2023, the number of IDPs from Nduga is estimated at 56,981. The Nduga IDPs are scattered across various towns across West Papua. Many of them have settled down in the town of Wamena, Jayawijaya Regency, Papua Pegunungan Province, where local tribes have allowed them to live and garden on their land. Most have difficulties accessing healthcare and education services.

An unknown number of IDPs continue to live in temporary shelters in the Nduga Regency. According to a TPNPB statement, the IDPs are located in the districts Geselma, Alama, Mebarok, and Alama, while the districts of Yal, Mugi, Mbua, Yigi, Mapenduma, Paro have been designated as combat areas. Between the end of March and early April 2024, security operations in Nduga were reportedly accompanied by air raids and targeted areas where IDPs had built their camps. The operation was likely part of a more significant military effort to free a pilot from New Zealand who had been taken hostage by a TPNPB group in February 2023.


Hundreds of residents in the Namblong District fled their homes in fear of horizontal violence between indigenous Papuans and migrants from other parts of Indonesia in response to the killing of Mr Daud Bano on 1 January 2024. According to information from a local village leader, 582 people from the Nimbongkrang Village, 318 persons from the Benyom Jaya 1 Village, and 58 residents from Benyom Jaya 2 left their homes until the situation recovered. The internal displacements were only temporary, covering several weeks after the incident.

IDPs across West Papua, Indonesia, as of 17 April 2024

RegencyNo IDPsDisplaced sinceAdditional info
Nduga56,981[1]4 Dec. 18IDPs originate from 11 districts in Nduga; more than 615 IDPs reportedly died as of January 2022
Puncak2,724[2]27 Apr. 21at least 16 IDPs have reportedly died during displacement
Intan Jaya5,859[3]26 Oct. 21at least 126 IDPs face health issues, and 11 IDPs reportedly died
Maybrat3.387[4]2 Sep. 21IDPs originated from 5 districts; 138 IDPs reportedly died, and the local Govt reportedly facilitated the return of IDPs since November 2022
Pegunungan Bintang (Kiwirok District)2,252[5]10 Oct. 21about 200 IDPs fled to PNG, 74 IDPs reportedly died, and dozens of IDPs suffered from sickness
Pegunungan Bintang (Serambakon District)91[6]18 Sep. 23ten persons sick, two women pregnant, 47 children among the IDPs
Yahukimo (Suru-Suru District)1,971[7]20 Nov. 21IDPs from 13 villages sought shelter in 15 temporary camps, 16 women gave birth without medical attention, and 13 IDPs reportedly died. 
Yahukimo (Dekai District)554 [8]21 Aug. 2313 persons were sick; one died, and two females murdered
Fakfak (Kramongmongga District500[9]16 Aug. 23N/A
Paniai (Districts Agadide & Ekadide)2,600[10]12Apr. 24internal displacements were reported from the villages of Komopai, Iyobada, Tegougi, Pasir Putih, Keneugi, and Iteuwo
T O T A L76.919

[1] Compiled by a group of Papuan human rights defenders that visited IDPs from Nduga in the town of Wamena and surrounding areas between 12 and 20 July 2023  
[2] Jubi (9.11.2021): SORAKPATOK: 300 tewas dan 50 ribu warga Papua mengungsi, available at:
[3] CNN Indonesia (30.10.2021): Ribuan Warga Papua Mengungsi Usai Pecah Kontak Senjata, available at:
[4] Figures published by the National human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) in July 2023, updated information published by Jubi (10.04.2024): 3.387 warga sipil Maybrat masih mengungsi, available at:
[5] Compiled from multiple lists with names of IDPs, which local human rights defenders compiled in Pegunugan Bintang between April and July 2023. Church workers updated the number of deaths in July 2023
[6] The number is based on a name list compiled by human rights defenders in Serambakon shortly after the displacements occurred.
[7] The number is based on data compiled by local church workers. The information was received in February 2022
[8] The number is based on a name list that human rights defenders in Dekai compiled in September 2023
[9] Based on an estimation made by local human rights defenders in Kramongmongga in September 2023 [10] Based on information shared by local observers in Paniai on 16 April 2024