Yapen, ENS, – On Monday 11 July 2017, at around 2 p.m. local time, staff members of Elsham’s regional office of Yapen conducted a monitoring mission. Maryana Worabai (41), along with two staff, Bob Bonay (28) and Gerda Bonay (36) travelled to Kontiunai Village, Yawakukat District, Yapen Islands Region, Papua Province, where they met with Ms Isalena Samai (20), wife of the deceased Maikel Merani, and Mr. Anton Merani (29). They were both witnesses who were sitting with Maikel Merani when he was shot dead on Monday 27 March 2017.
At his house, Anton explained the following to Elsham’s volunteers: “In June, sorry I forgot the precise date and day, I went to the village of Waniwon for shopping at the Serui market. I was sitting at the shopping mall, when suddenly a Police officer, Bripka Amos Worembai (41) approached me saying: “What are you doing here?” I answered that I was just sitting there. He asked me if I was the one who reported about his involvement in Maikel’s shooting. He then punched me in the face, on the right, and then he hit me at the back of the head. As he was hitting me, the police officer took his gun out and pointed it towards my face and said: “Today I will kill you.”
Luckily someone came to my rescue, then the policeman said again, “Remember! Someday I will kill you with my bear hands.”
“Because of this incident I am now afraid: afraid of going to town, afraid of going hunting in the forest, afraid of going to the garden to gather sago. I have already reported this to Mr. Isak Merani (42) who is a member of the House of Representatives (DPR), so that he may convey it to the Chief of Police. But I never received a response back, neither from the local representative nor from the sub-district police headquarters (Mapolres) of Yapen Islands”, said Anton to Elsham Papua. Anton said he hoped Elsham Papua could provide him with protection after the death threat he had received from the police officer in question.
As far as I know, when Maikel Merani was shot on 27 March 2017, he was visiting his son who was ill at the time. However, Maikel was accused of being the successor of Rudi Oreri, an OPM leader (Free Papua Movement). This accusation made Mikael fearful and in the end, he chose to stay in the jungle.
The deceased left a wife and a son named Bintang Kejora Merani who was one year and six months old. “Since my husband was shot dead, I accepted the situation, although I feel sad because our child is still very small, and I am left by myself to take care of him. Later when our child grows older I will need to take care of his schooling fees and other costs. I had hoped my husband would provide, but as he is not there I will have to work hard to earn a living for the sake of my child. Until now I am still traumatized and scared because I saw with my own eyes how my husband was shot, I am afraid I could also become the target and get shot dead by the police and soldiers. I ask for protection from Elsham Papua”, said Isalena while crying. ELSHAM Papua © 2017