Monday, December 19, 2011

Enga villagers burn vehicles

Source: The National, Monday 19th December 2011
UPNG Journalism Student

A GROUP of villagers allegedly set fire to two vehicles belonging to the police and the Enga provincial government after hearing a rumour that their MP Sam Abal was arrested in Port Moresby.
The villagers from Irelya went on a rampage in Wabag town last Friday reportedly reacting to the rumours leading up from the political crisis in Port Moresby.
They burnt a police vehicle belonging to the criminal investigation division unit and a provincial government vehicle. They also set fire to a vehicle travelling from Kandep.
Properties belonging to a policeman from Sepik at the Aipus barracks were removed. He was away on duty in Port Moresby as part of Mobile Unit 11 from Wabag sent by the police commissioner Tom Kulunga to guard Parliament House.
The villagers acted after a rumor circulated last Friday in Wabag that Governor Peter Ipatas and Abal were arrested in Port Moresby by Mobile unit 11 officers
upon orders by the O’Neill-led faction.
The villagers blocked the road to Wabag and Porgera and demanded that provincial police commander Martin Lakari withdrew the Mobile Unit 11 from Port Moresby.
Lakari told the villagers that the unit was directed to go to Port Moresby by the police headquarters.
“The people of Enga are innocent. The current political issue between O’Neill and Sir Michael Somare in parliament must not affect this province because you are giving a bad picture to our local leaders,” Lakari said.
He said everyone must respect the law and the police force in the province.
“I am not going to kill Governor Peter Ipatas and Sam Abal because they are my brothers,” he said.
The road was re-opened in the afternoon but four people were arrested and locked up in the Wabag jail.

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