By Rebecca Kuku
The 24 losing general election candidates of Southern Highlands have accepted compensation demands from the relatives of the two Hela police officers who were killed in Mendi last month.
They said it was because blood was shed on their land.
Candidates representative Joseph Kobol clarified that the incident was an isolated case caused by criminals and opportunists on the highway.
Kobol said that though none of the candidates was involved in their deaths, they would assist in funeral costs because the two officers had died on their land and because Hela and Southern Highlands were “sister provinces”.
“We have known each other for a long time, we were schoolmates, drinkingmates, business partners,” he said meaning the
closeness of the two provinces.
“We played rugby together and have married into each other’s family, Hela and Southern Highlands are sisters.”
“It is out of respect to our history and our culture that we have accepted the demand.”
Kobol called on the leaders of both provinces to step in and assist in funeral costs and arrangements.
Hela representative and former Southern Highlands premier Albert Mokai said they wanted a practical solution for lasting peace between the provinces.
“We were once Southern Highlanders and as such we have friends and family from Southern Highlands,” he said.
“We cannot allow this to continue on and must resolve the issue.”
“We thank the losing candidates who have come forward to stand with us as brothers to take our two sons home.”
Mokai called on the Southern Highlands Governor William Powi to assist in the repatriation and funeral expanses of the two Hela policemen as they were killed during the aftermath of his election declaration.
The two police officers from Koroba Police Station were killed along the Wara Anga area in Southern Highlands during the violence that broke in the province with the declaration of the provincial seat.
By Rebecca Kuku