Paniai Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Anthonius Diance denied that police had set homes of villagers on fire in their pursuit of a gunman who killed 29-year-old officer Yohan Kisiwaito.
“No such thing. Only a Honai (traditional house), small one, was believed to be the hideout of the perpetrator, which is Free Papua Organization (OPM) member. So it was burned down,” said Anthonius Diance, Wednesday, August 22, 2012.
According to him, the police did not arrest people indiscriminately. “No, about the burning of houses, that’s not true. It was a honai, the perpetrator is believed to be hiding in there. ”
He says that in Tuesday afternoon’s pursuit, there was an exchange of fire with OPM members hiding in the hills. “Yes, but none of our members were wounded, they fled,” he said.
The chase was a joint operation by the military and the police. There was another exchange of fire on Wednesday morning, but the culprit fled. “Once the perpetrators mingle with the people, it’s difficult for us because everyone looks pretty much the same,” he said.
Marko Pekei, a leading Church figure in Paniai, says that three explosions were heard in the morning. “It’s like a ghost town here. Civil servants are not working. Schools are closed. Only the police are visible, patrolling,” he said.
Brigpol Yohan Kisiwaito was shot while washing his car at the end of the Enarotali Airport. His killer fled by crossing Lake Paniai in a speed boat, taking off with him the V2 weapons carried by the victim.