West Papua unrest: Shootout prompts border closure

West Papua unrest: Shootout prompts border closure
The Wutung entry facility at the border between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea is an important trading access point. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades
The Wutung entry facility at the border between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea is an important trading access point. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Land and sea access between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea has been closed after a shootout at the border.

This follows reports of an Indonesian troop build-up along the border from communities in PNG’s West Sepik province.

Indonesian-ruled West Papua has been gripped by weeks of protests and violent unrest which has left dozens of people dead.

Amid a security forces crackdown, concern has been raised in neighbouring PNG about another potential influx of West Papuan refugees

PNG’s Immigration and Citizenship Authority has advised that following a shootout the border is closed to nationals from both sides until further notice.

It said shopping at the Batas market, close to the border on the Indonesian side, as well as movement into the West Papuan capital Jayapura was “completely banned”.

Earlier this week, PNG’s EMTV reported villagers at Wutung on the PNG side of the border as saying school children were ordered to return home.

Usually, most land and sea cross-border movement occurs around Papua New Guinea’s north coast.

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