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

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 (see photos below, source: independent HRD) on 19 January 2024. The TPNPB confirmed the death of one of their combatants on 23 January 2024 (see photo below, source: Suara Papua). 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 (see photos below, source: independent HRDs).  

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 (see photos below, source: Kingmi Papua). Simultaneously, security force members shot Mrs Meri Janambani (56 years) in the Mamba Village during a raid on 20 January 2024. Mrs Janambani sustained a bullet wound on the right thigh (see photo below, source: independent HRDs). 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 (see photos below, source: TPNPB) 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 (see photos below, source: TPNPB).

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.

Evacuation and post-mortem examination of Mr Yusak Sondegau’s body

Injury on Mrs Apriana Sani’s left arm

Bullet wound on Mrs Meri Janambani’s right thigh

Security force member killed during armed clash in Intan Jaya on 19 January 2024

TPNPB member killed on 23 January 2024

IDPs gathering at the catholic rectory in Sugapa, Intan Jaya

Houses set on fire during security force raid in Intan Jaya

TPNPB members in Sugapa, January 2024

TPNPB members posing with a captured combat drone. The mortar grenade tale was secured after a security force raid in Intan Jaya, January 2024

Detailed Case Data
name of the location: Sugapa (-3.7509401638215243, 137.01730398588865)
administrative region: Indonesia, Papua Tengah Province, Intan Jaya Regency, Sugapa district
total number of victims: three
period of incident: 20.01.2024-23.01.2024
perpetrator: other security forces 
perpetrator details: unknown
Issues: indigenous peoples, execution, ill-treatment

Further HRM News:

NumberName, DetailsGenderAgeGroup AffiliationViolations
1Melkias Nambaganimale23indigenous execution
1Yusak Sondegaumale38indigenous execution
1Apriana Sanifemale32indigenousill-treatment 
1Meri Janambanifemale56indigenousill-treatment