Hundreds leave Papua villages in separatist standoff

People who were evacuated after a security operation against separatists at their villages rest at a temporary shelter upon arrival in Timika, Papua province, Indonesia, Friday, Nov. 27, 2017. Indonesian police said they helped evacuate some hundreds of people Friday from villages in the easternmost province after security forces apparently gained the upper hand in a standoff with the separatists. (AP Photo/Albertus Vembrianto)
A police officer stands guard as buses carrying people who were evacuated from their villages after a security operation against separatists arrive at a temporary shelter in Timika, Papua province, Indonesia, Friday, Nov. 27, 2017. Indonesian police said they helped evacuate some hundreds of people Friday from villages in the easternmost province after security forces apparently gained the upper hand in a standoff with the separatists.(AP Photo/Albertus Vembrianto)
A man who was evacuated after a security operation against separatists in his village, steps out of a bus upon arrival at a temporary shelter in Timika, Papua province, Indonesia, Friday, Nov. 27, 2017. Indonesian police said they helped evacuate some hundreds of people Friday from villages in the easternmost province after security forces apparently gained the upper hand in a standoff with the separatists.(AP Photo/Albertus Vembrianto)

JAYAPURA, Indonesia — Hundreds more people have left villages in Papua that were at the center of clashes with separatists, Indonesian police said Monday.

It was the second evacuation from the region near the U.S.-owned Grasberg gold and copper mine in a week.

Papua police chief Boy Rafli Amar said about 800 villagers were bused to the town of Timika and are being accommodated in a local hall.

"They finally asked to be evacuated or relocated because the conditions there were traumatizing," Amar said.

Security forces appeared to gain the upper hand in the standoff with separatists on Friday and evacuated more than 340 people who were migrants from other regions.

Two people were killed in Friday's security operation. Indonesia's military said they were separatists while a spokesman for the National Liberation Army of West Papua said they were civilians.

Tensions in the region near the mine have escalated in the past several weeks. A series of attacks by suspected separatists have killed two policemen and injured more than half a dozen others.

A low-level insurgency for independence has simmered in Papua since it was annexed by Indonesia in the early 1960s.

The region, which makes up the western half of the island of New Guinea, was formally incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 following a U.N.-sponsored ballot of tribal leaders that has since been dismissed as a sham.

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