KNPB denies involvement in Michele Kurisi murder case, cites unfounded police accusations

The process of evacuating the body of Michele Kurisi Doga in Lanny Jaya Regency, Papua Mountains, Thursday (31/8/2023). - Doc. Jayawijaya Police

Jayapura, Jubi – Ones Suhuniap, the spokesperson for the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), has refuted claims that speak KNPB’s involvement in the murder case of Michele Kurisi. This response comes in light of statements made by the police, asserting that one of the suspects in Michele Kurisi’s murder was associated with the West Baliem KNPB.

The tragic killing of Michele Kurisi Doga, an ordinary citizen, occurred on August 28, 2023, in the Kolawa District of Lanny Jaya Regency, Mountainous Papua Province.F

From October 5 to 8, 2023, Operation Peace Cartenz 2023 apprehended three suspects connected to the murder, including AW, whom the police claim to be a member of the West Baliem KNPB.

Suhuniap said police’s allegations against a KNPB member as defamatory and similar to previous accusations.

“Whenever violence occurs, KNPB is unjustly singled out, and the perpetrators are immediately labeled as KNPB members, including in the case of Michele Kurisi’s murder,” Suhuniap stated in a press release issued on Monday, October 8, 2023.

He asserted that the police were making premature judgments by linking KNPB to Michele Kurisi’s murder. He emphasized that their organization had no knowledge regarding the KNPB membership status of the three individuals apprehended by the police.

“We will collaborate with the West Baliem KNPB to confirm whether these individuals are officially registered as members of the West Baliem KNPB or not. Over the past two years, there have been instances of fake KNPB groups, including the Ketengban and West Baliem fake KNPBs,” he noted.

Suhuniap stressed that the KNPB operates with a structured framework, adhering to specific rules and operational standards during their nonviolent struggle. He underlined the KNPB’s commitment to upholding principles of democracy, human rights, and tolerance, emphasizing their preference for a dialogue-based approach.

“We have consistently conducted peaceful demonstrations within the city. Despite instances where the police resorted to tear gas during several KNPB protests, our members remained nonprovocative. This was evident during the protest on August 15 and the celebration of Victor Yeimo’s release. During the remembrance of the late Filep J Karma, which drew thousands of participants, KNPB members efficiently maintained order,” he explained.

Suhuniap appealed to the police, urging them not to rush into accusations or engage in continual defamation of the KNPB. On the other hand, he appreciated the police’s progress in the Michelle Kurisi’s case.

“We appreciate police’s swift progress in uncovering the culprits behind the murder of Michele Kurisi. We hope it can be extended to unveil the perpetrators in other cases involving Indigenous Papuan civilians, such as the five individuals shot in Yahukimo, four in Fakfak, and numerous unsolved cases,” Suhuniap commented. (*)

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