KNPB says attack on military post in Papua being used to criminalise them

Suara Papua – September 11, 2021
KNPB spokesperson Ones Suhuniap giving greetings to rally – Undated (SP)

Jayapura – The West Papua National Committee (KNPB) says that based on their analysis the September 2 killing of four soldiers during an attack on the Kisor sub-district military post in Maybrat regency, West Papua province, the attack is being used as means to force the KNPB into a corner and to criminalise them.

"There are vested interests and a plot by certain parties behind the killing for four TNI [Indonesian military] members at Kisor, Maybrat. First multinational palm oil companies which are currently challenging [the cancelation of] permits in the western birds head region. Second, the construction of [new] Koramil [sub-district military commands] in several districts in South Sorong and Maybrat regencies. Third, the additional deployment of troops on the grounds of securing the PON XX Papua [20th Papua National Games]", revealed KNPB spokesperson Ones Suhuniap in a statement sent to Suara Papua on Saturday September 11.

Suhuniap said the incident is a plot and a trap which has been arranged in such a way as to distract public attention from a challenge by four palm oil companies with the Jayapura State Administrative Court (PTUN) against Sorong Regent Jhony Kamuru's decision to revoke their permits.

In addition to this it is also to legalise and accelerate the construction of sub-district military posts and TNI and Indonesian police posts on the Trans-Papua highway connecting Manokwari and Sorong.

Suhuniap said that for the KNPB such a plot is nothing new and these kinds of methods are often used in Papua, especially against the KNPB.

As has been reported, the police say that a KNPB member was involved in the attack, namely the chairperson of the KNPB in the Kisor sector, although what their motive was and why they were involved, along with who the mastermind is behind the 19 people declared responsible for the attack has not been cited by the police.

Suhuniap said that if there were KNPB Maybrat members involved then there was a third party which provoked or trapped them into it and so it is necessary to discover the mastermind behind all of this and what their interests are.

Because, said Suhuniap, organisationally the KNPB does not kill or act in a hostile way towards other people, including the TNI and police.

"There is no agenda of murder directed against the authorities or special organisational instruction to attack members of the TNI and Indonesian police. So the police must delve into and investigate this case further. Who was the mastermind behind the attack. Don't criminalist the KNPB!", he said accusingly.

If based on the investigation KNPB members are proven to have been involved in the attack then their actions are actions taken outside of the organisation and not an organisational decision. Because referring to the organisational rules and principles, this would conflict with the values of humanity, so if it is true, they then are responsible as individuals, not the organisation.

"We as an organisation (the KNPB) have never carried out sabotage or urban guerrilla actions. If they are actually involved, indirectly we can say that the people were deposited by a certain party to destroy the KNPB movement in the Maybrat region", he said.

In addition to this, Suhuniap also believes that the attack was part of an effort to counter public demands from within Papua and internationally for the release of KNPB international spokesperson Victor Yeimo.

"The state is shaping public opinion to distract the Papuan people's attention from Victor Yeimo's release and creating a sense of fear. Indonesian colonialism through its intelligence [services] are shaping public opinion and distracting the Papuan people's attention by accusing the KNPB of being involved in the attack on the soldiers in Kisor. We believe that this effort to distract public attention is a cheap sort of intelligence propaganda to destroy and criminalise the KNPB. Including by means of destroying the KNPB's image in the eyes of the Indonesian public and internationally", he said.

"Of late the Papuan people have been enthusiastically calling for Victor Yeimo's release, without talking about the PON Papua, unfortunately the VY issue has somewhat faded. So this is part of state's strategy in the interests of making the national agenda a success, namely the PON XX", he said.

In addition to this there is the cheap issue being played up in the poor quality media saying that the KNPB is trying to thwart the Papua National Games, yet the KNPB has no such agenda. This is not just to criminalise the KNPB but also to create panic and fear among the Papuan people so that they no longer sympathise with the KNPB.

"I was to convey to the Papuan people that they (the intelligence services) are intentionally creating issues and propaganda to criminalise the KNPB and obscure the issue of Victor F Yeimo's release. The state is also afraid of the power of resistance through the Papuan People's Petition (PRP) which is becoming stronger in its opposition to the extension Otsus [special autonomy for Papua]. Part of this is just to sow divisions among Papuans, where it is considered that those who accept Otsus are the coastal peoples, while the highland people reject it. The state has a target of cultivating the issue of the highlands verses coastal areas, and this is their way of destroying our unity, the Papuan people", he said.

Because of this, Suhuniap hopes that colleagues from the 112 resistance movement organisations which are part of the PRP and all of the Papuan people will remain solid and not be influenced by the manipulation of public opinion. The Papuan people must be consistent in rejecting the extension of special autonomy, the unconditional release of Victor Yeimo and demanding the right to self-determination.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "KNPB Sebut Empat Skenario Pembunuhan Empat Anggota TNI di Kisor".]