Armed violence: Soldiers provide aid to returning refugees in Mimika

Armed violence: Soldiers provide aid to returning refugees in Mimika

Soldiers distribute packaged rice meals to a villager returning to Kimbely Banti ll village in Tembagapura sub-district, Mimika district. Many  villagers had fled their homes and sought refuge in Timika amid a wave of armed violence in the area. (ANTARA News Papua/HO-Pendam XVII/Cenderawasih)

Mimika, Papua (ANTARA) - Soldiers from the 756/WMS Infantry Battalion's security task force prepared and distributed 100 boxes of packaged rice meals to those affected by acts of terror unleashed by armed Papuan groups in Mimika district, Papua.

The recipients were refugees from Kimbely Banti ll village in Tembagapura sub-district, Mimika district, Papua province, who have returned home, a military officer said.

The Indonesian military (TNI) cares for and is prepared to help resolve local residents' problems, the task force's commander, Major Marolop Edison Bala Hutapea, said.

"We do this because they are our own brothers and sisters," he said in a press statement that ANTARA received here on Thursday.

Around 14 army personnel from the task force's Banti security post prepared and distributed the packaged meals to the returning refugees living near the post, Hutapea informed.

After returning home, not all of them have been able to resume normal life, he said adding, they cannot even cook because many kitchen sets got damaged after locals abandoned their homes.

Many of them had hurriedly fled their homes to seek refuge in Timika, the capital of Mimika district, in wake of violence unleashed by armed Papuan groups, he said.

"To ease the burden on the returnees, the Banti security post personnel prepared the rice meals because they do need them," he added.

Papua has witnessed a vicious cycle of violence, with armed Papuan groups targeting civilians and security personnel over the past two years.

Intan Jaya district recorded its bloodiest month in September, 2020, with armed groups launching a series of attacks that killed four people and injured two others.

The acts of terror have continued this year. On January 10, 2021, an Indonesian soldier died in a gunfight in the Titigi area of Intan Jaya district.

In February this year, at least 359 residents of Intan Jaya took shelter in a church after a villager, identified by his initials as RNR, was shot by an armed rebel.

Most of those who decided to leave their homes over fears of being targeted by armed rebels were residents of Bilogai village of Sugapa sub-district.

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