Jakarta – Around 200 school students from many villages in conflict-ridden Nduga, Papua, may not be able to participate in the national exams this year following ongoing conflict between the Indonesian Military (TNI) and an armed group with ties to the Free Papua Movement (OPM) in the region.
"Around 200 students in the region may not be able to take the exam," Raga Kogeya, a humanitarian worker in the location, told reporters in Jayapura on Thursday, as quoted by Antara.
He said that many students were living in tents in the yard of the Kemah Injili (Kingmi) Church of Papua. "They are among the estimated 2,000 residents in Nduga who fled their homes after the conflict began in December," Raga said.
He was referring to an ambush that killed dozens of construction workers and one soldier on Dec. 1 last year. The incident has led to the security authorities launching a military crackdown to hunt down the suspected perpetrators.
Earlier this month, the TNI deployed 600 personnel to Nduga from Makassar, South Sulawesi, following the ambush on bridge workers by the militants.
In February, the deputy regent of Nduga, Wentius Nimiangge, said the situation in the region was already under the local administration's control. He added that the students in the conflict zones, including Yuguru and Mbua, should take their exams in Kenyam district in Nduga.
Raga said the children did not want to take the exams in Kenyam, but rather in Wamena, the main town of Jayawijaya, where they think it is much safer.
"They are still afraid when they see the military. They prefer to take the exam in Wamena," he said. (das)