21yrs of freedom ends

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A convicted murderer on the run for 21 years yesterday surrendered to PNG Correctional Services Commissioner Michael Waipo at the services headquarters in Port Moresby.
Aipit Balos, in his mid-50s and from Pyakin village in Laiagam, Enga, had served four years before escaping from the Port Moresby General Hospital in 1995, while a prisoner at Bomana prison.
“I gave my life to the Lord and am a born-again Christian with the Apostolic Church, he told said.
“Although I was free, my conscious always troubled and tormented me about being an escapee. So I decided to surrender and return to prison to serve out my term.
“My relatives were against me, saying that police and PNGCS had forgotten about me and there was no need for me to go back to prison. But I said I had to go back because I still wasn’t  a free man.”
Balos, who was in his late 20s at the time, was sentenced by the Wabag National Court on June 12, 1991, for 29 years and seven months for killing a man with a bush knife while coming to the aid of a relative during an argument.
“I was then remanded in Baisu prison in Western Highlands to serve my term. Then In 1994, I was brought down to the Bomana prison to await my appeal before the Supreme Court to review the sentencing,” he said.
“I then contracted tuberculosis (TB) and got admitted at the Port Moresby General Hospital. While been admitted at the TB ward to get treatment, I escaped with the help of the victim’s relatives.”
Balos said that his “enemies removed me from the ward”
“I did not know where the PNGCS guards were. The guards who were assigned to guard me were not around. I don’t know if the guards were bribed.
“But I was scared because I knew my enemies removed me to kill me in Port Moresby. I don’t know Port Moresby as it was my first trip there to go to Bomana prison. So how can I escape both from my enemies and from Bomana? I don’t know the city.”
Balos said he was taken to a store and detained there.
“But they later released me, saying compensation had been made so there was no need for you to be a state prisoner. So they hid me from police and put me on a plane back to my village. They told me not to make trouble again.”
Balos said he went to his village, behaved well and got married and had six children.
“Everyone, including councillors, peace officers and village court magistrates knew that I had escaped. But they didn’t turn me in because I was behaving well.”
Balos said that he came to Port Moresby in May to surrender to the PNGCS.

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