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Security forces kill two Papuans and injure indigenous woman during raids in Intan Jaya - about 4,400 residents displaced

Human Rights Monitor - January 29, 2024

Human rights observers have expressed concerns regarding a series of armed clashes in Sugapa District, Intan Jaya Regency, from 19 to 24 January 2024, which resulted in two Papuan men killed and one Papuan woman injured by joint security forces.

Members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) reportedly killed a member of the Damai Cartenz joint security force unit on 19 January 2024. The TPNPB confirmed the death of one of their combatants on 23 January 2024. Both sides claim higher kill counts, but these could not be verified.

The continuous armed confrontations between the TPNPB and the Indonesian joint security forces have prompted the evacuation of residents in various villages. Public buildings were allegedly burnt to the ground by TPNPB, while security forces reportedly set residential houses on fire during raids against the TPNPB.

According to the information received, security force personnel killed 23-year-old Mr Melkias Nambagani near the Bilogai Village on 23 January 2024. Earlier, security force members had shot dead Mr Yusak Sondegau, 38, in front of his house in the Jalai Village on 21 January 2024. An indigenous Papuan woman named Mrs Apriana Sani, 28, allegedly sustained a bullet wound on her left arm as security forces opened fire at a group of TPNPB fighters in the Jogasiga Village on 20 January 2024. The extent of material and property damage remains uncertain. Fear prevails, preventing affected local residents from moving freely and working in their gardens. Many have reportedly fled their homes and are afraid to return to their villages.

Joint security forces allegedly searched Papuan residents' houses indiscriminately and set some of them on fire in their search for TPNPB members. The TPNPB claimed that security forces dropped mortar grenades from drones in indigenous settlements on 21 January 2023. In return, security forces accused the TPNPB of burning two government public buildings. In mid-January 2024, TPNPB fighters claimed they had successfully shot down and captured one of the combat drones.

The clashes have left the communities in Intan Jaya in fear. Local human rights observers estimate that about 4,400 indigenous persons from the villages Jalai, Mamba, Yokatapa, Wandoga, Sambili, Bilogai, and Kumpalagupa have been internally displaced as a result of the clashes. 337 of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) reportedly fled to a catholic rectory in Sugapa (see photos and videos below, source: Kingmi Papua). The IDPs sought shelter in other villages and neighboring regencies that were considered safe. Some IDPs reportedly fled to Nabire following the land route.

Source: https://humanrightsmonitor.org/news/security-forces-kill-two-papuans-and-injure-indigenous-woman-during-raids-in-intan-jaya-about-4400-residents-displaced