Thousands of people take refuge to the forest, says the Church authority

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Jayapura, Jubi – Thousands of residents of Mbua, Yall and Yigi sub-districts reportedly sought refuge in the forest following the raid conducted by the joint police and military forces towards the West Papua Liberation Army that claimed to be responsible for the shooting incidents of the workers of PT. Istaka Karya on 2 December 2018.

The residents are mostly the congregation of the Kingmi Papua Church. “We received reports from Yigi and Yall informed that about five presbyteries have taken refuge to the forest since the evacuation of shooting victims conducted,” the Rev. Dr Benny Giay told Jubi on Sunday (9/12/2018).

Further, he described that the five presbyteries are including Yigi Barat presbytery of six congregations, Yigi presbytery of six congregations, Mbua presbytery of six congregations and Mbulmuyalma of eight congregations. Meanwhile, for Mugi presbytery, he doesn’t have detailed information yet about how many groups that fled to the forest.

“Each congregation is on average consisting of 30-50 heads of families. So, it estimated that the total of refugees is 780 householders. If each family consists of two family members, it means there are more than 1,500 refugees,” explained the Rev. Giay. The Kingmi Church, further said Father Giay, is Christian’s denomination that dominant in Nduga. They have approximately 60,000 followers in Nduga.

Moreover, he added that in the previous military raid between June and July 2018, there were fifty families in Alguru village where suspected the hiding place of the insurgent group had a refuge to the forest. Then, there were 150 people went to Timika, whereas 116 people exited Nduga to Agats, Asmat Regency regarding the incident occurred in Nduga within the last eight days.

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Meanwhile, the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (MPH-PGI) expressed their profound condolences and deplored the use of violent-approach either by civilians, insurgents or state apparatus in solving the problems in Papua.

“The violence, in any form, in our opinion, would never solve a problem, but create new scars and wounds which in turn will create another circle of violence,” wrote the Rev. Dr Henriette T.H. Lebang, the Chairperson of PGI in their pastoral message regarding the incident in Nduga.

Furthermore, PGI calls on all parties to stop all forms of violence and sit together to solve the existed problems with humanity and dignity. “Only through this way we can liberate Papua from its entangled problems,” she continued. (*)

Reporter: Victor Mambor

Editor: Pipit Maizier 

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