Armed clashes between Indonesian security forces and the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) have re-erupted in Intan Jaya’s largest town Sugapa, Papua Province, on 26 October 2021. The Papuan media outlet Jubi reported that thousands of civilians, most of them indigenous Papuans, have sought shelter in multiple catholic churches in fear of armed violence.
IDPs from the villages Bilogai and Kumlagupa reportedly fled to the Missael Bilogai Church (see photos on top and below, source: YKKMP). Other IDPs from Yokatapa and Mamba sought shelter in the Stasi Waboagapa Church. According to local observers, the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Intan Jaya lack food and basic supplies. The Catholic Diocese in Timika is currently organising relief supplies for the IDPs.
The spokesperson of the Papua Regional Police (Polda Papua), Ahmad Musthofa Kamal, confirmed on 30 October 2021 that 5.859 people from the surrounding areas sought shelter in churches. According to Kamal, 2,405 IDPs temporarily stay at the St Misael Church, about 3,000 others in the Agapa Catholic Church, 124 IDPs at the Antioch GKII Church, and 150 IDPs at the Baitapa Catholic Church. About 180 IDPs sought shelter at the district police headquarters and the local military post in Sugapa.
Armed clashes between Indonesian security forces and the TPN PB in Sugapa on 26 October 2021 resulted in the death of a two-year-old infant, Melpianus Sondegau. Another minor named Yoakim Majau, 6, sustained a bullet injury during the incident. Further firefights were reported from Suagapa on 29 and 30 October 2021. TPN PB members had reportedly set multiple buildings around the airport on fire, hampering the air traffic to the remote highland town.
IDPs from Sugapa seek shelter in a local church: