HUNDREDS of villagers in Papua New Guinea have had to flee their homes as police continue to confront separatists near a US-owned mine.
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 traumatising,” he said.
Paramilitary police launched an operation on Friday against National Liberation Army of West Papua guerillas, during which 340 migrants from other regions were evacuated.
Two people were killed in the assault — described by police as insurgents but by the separatists as civilians.
The stand-off has continued for weeks around the Grasberg gold and copper mine owned by US firm Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold.
Residents have long complained of pollution from the mine and the lack of benefits to the country.