Abeth You, Enarotali, Jubi – The displaced people of Maybrat in West Papua Province, who fled their hometowns due to armed conflict between the Indonesian Military (TNI) and police and the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), wanted to go home and celebrate Christmas in peace.
"Nearing December, a holy month for the majority of the Papuan people who are Christians, the people want to return to their hometown immediately. They want to rebuild their lives in the village and celebrate Christmas peacefully with their families," Rev. Bernardus Baru of the Order of Saint Augustine Sorong-Manokwari Diocese told Jubi in a phone call on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021.
At least 3,121 Maybrat people are currently taking shelter at Ayawasi, Kumurkek, Fategomi, Sorong City, Sorong Regency, South Sorong, and Bentuni. Some stayed at the homes of their relatives, some others made huts in the forest.
"The displaced people have been restless with this situation. They have often expressed their intention to return to their hometowns. Some even desperately went home, they live in cautions and flee to the forest whenever security forces come to the village," Baru said.
According to Baru, the people wanted to go home following their observations that there had been no attacks between the TNI and police and the TPNPB, and the fact that the timber company, PT Bangun Kayu Irian, which is located in the conflict area, is still operating safely.
His party urged the Maybrat Administration to immediately and safely return the displaced people back home.
Lawyer of PAHAM Papua Yohanis Mambrasar said that the displaced people began to experience food shortages, health problems, and economic problems.
"Only in the first month they were able to fulfill their needs through family support and government assistance," said Mambrasar. However, he said, entering the third month, the condition of the displaced people was just getting worse.