Soldier Damage and Desecrate St Mary Magdalene Parish Church in Pagubutu, Paniai

PAGUBUTU (PANIAI)  - Indonesian security forces broke down the front door of St Mary Magdalene Parish Church Pagubutu in Paniai Regency.

The desecration of the sacred place took place at the end of a Sunday Mass as part of a joint national police-army operation against arms trafficking involving a local separatist group.

According to local activists, early on Sunday 4 August, soldiers surprised the local Catholic community by ordering them to feed some pigs, not unusual among native Papuans who traditionally breed pigs. Meanwhile, the security forces inspected the parish church but came up empty handed.

An officer ordered a parishioner to open the doors to the sacristy, where vestments and other sacred objects are kept. However, because finding the key was taking its time, one of the soldiers decided to kick down the door. Nothing was found in the building's attic and basement, no weapons, ammunitions or explosives.

The soldiers eventually went away, leaving parishioners under shock, bewildered and angry for the damages caused to their place of worship. [AsiaNews| Malanesia]
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