Ardi Bayage, Yahukimo – The West Papua National Committee (KNPB) rejects violence in the struggle for West Papuan liberation. This was conveyed by KNPB spokesperson Ones Suhuniap on Saturday July 23 when speaking with Suara Papua.
Suhuniap asserted that the KNPB rejects all forms of violence in the struggle to liberate Papua from Indonesia's colonial grasp.
His remarks were in response to a video circulating on social media recently showing a red flag allegedly belonging to the KNPB that was being held by several youths after decapitating a civilian in Korowai district, Yakuhimo regency.
"We the KNPB reject violence in the West Papua national liberation struggle. Because of this, no one at all is allowed to use the KNPB's name or use the KNPB's symbols in acts of violence in Papua in the name of Papua independence", he asserted.
According to Suhuniap, the KNPB struggles through peaceful means in urban centres by prioritising the values of humanitarianism in a democratic way without violence. This is the principle of the KNPB's struggle.
"We call for a MSN or national civil strike as resistance without violence. Anyone who lives in the land of Papua from Sorong to Merauke who feels oppressed, they are our friends", he said.
Suhuniap continued saying the KNPB struggles against racism and is against SARA (racial, religious and ethnic conflicts) in the struggle for national liberation.
"We strongly condemn acts of violence committed against civilians whether they are indigenous Papuans or non-Papuans in the name of Papuan independence", he said.
The KNPB declares that the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) which fights in the jungles, and the TNI (Indonesian military) and the Polri (Indonesian police), are not allowed to kill civilians whether they are indigenous Papuans or non-Papuans who have come to seek a livelihood in West Papua.
"The struggle for Papuan independence by the Papuan nation is not because we hate the Indonesian people who are in Papua, but our enemy is the colonial system and practices in West Papua, capitalism and global imperialism along with militarism in Papua", he said.
In the name of humanity the KNPB conveys its condolences and condemns any act of violence against civilians committed in the name of Papuan independence.
"In the case of the killing of a non-Papuan in Korowai, if they are a civilian casualty it means that we condemn this inhuman action. Because we do not yet know the clear chronology [of what happened] and whether they were non-organic military or a civilian casualty", said Suhuniap.
On the incident in Korowai, he said, to this day the KNPB does not know what the motive was, who the perpetrators were or whether the victim in Korowai were killed by the TPNPB or another party in the name of the Yahukimo regional TPNPB.
"Because to this day we do not know of an official statement from the Yahukimo [TPNPB] Kodap [defense command area] on the alleged civilian killing", he said.
According to Suhuniap, in the video published on social media related to the Korowai case, there were two flags visible, namely the Morning Star independence flag and a flag made of red cloth which is alleged to be KNPB's organisational flag.
"With regard to that red flag if it really was the KNPB flag then it would mean that we must explicitly ask the party concerned to take responsibility and immediately clarify the red flag", he asserted.
Suhuniap claimed that if it was truly the KNPB's flag the KNPB will be asking what the perpetrators' motive is and why TPNPB Yahukimo commander Bocor Sobolim is showing the KNPB flag.
"Is this part of a plot by a certain party from the perpetrators to paint us into a corner and criminalise the KNPB as a criminal organisation like the Kisor Maybrat case in 2021. Even if the red flag was actually the KNPB's organisational flag, then we ask the perpetrators to immediately make an apology and a clarification. Because we in the KNPB do not use violence in the struggle", he said.
The KNPB, he said, sees the killing of an Indonesian who was allegedly a civilian in Korowai as giving the impression it is a plot to criminalise the KNPB.
"Because in terms of the organisational structure of the KNPB in the Yahukimo region, there is no basis or KNPB sector in the Korowai area. So what is the motive and the aim of the perpetrators in displaying the red flag which is allegedly the KNPB's organisational flag? If it is actually the KNPB's flag, then we ask that the perpetrators take responsibility", he repeated.
KNPB central office has called on all 32 KNPB regional offices and all KNPB members throughout Papua to always struggle peacefully in urban centres in accordance with the KNPB's principles of struggle which are stipulated under the organisation's rules.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "KNPB Menolak Kekerasan dalam Perjuangan Papua Merdeka".]