By GYNNIE KERO
A MOTHER, her two sons and teenaged daughter perished in the family home early last Friday morning after it was locked from the outside and set alight, Enga police confirmed yesterday.
Provincial police commander Superintendent George Kakas said the father, Katenge Nen, managed to run out of the home. He could not do anything to save his family.
The family is from the Kiliyep tribe living at Takoas village in the Kompiam-Ambum district. Kakas said a male visitor who was spending the night at the home also died in the fire.
Kakas told The National yesterday that someone locked the home from outside, poured fuel on the semi-permanent building and set it on fire.
Nen could only watch as the charred bodies of his family and their visitor were retrieved from what was once their family home.
Kakas said they suspected the incident could have been triggered off by earlier events at the village in which the teenaged daughter was involved in. The 19-year-old female was doing her laundry at a stream when a man, from the same tribe, allegedly tried to rape her.
“The parents confronted the man at a market and asked why he did such a thing when they were related and came from the same tribe,” he said.
“Her two brothers chopped the man’s legs and arms. He is in critical condition in hospital.”
Kakas said police suspected that the man’s relatives might have been involved in the burning down of the home.”
He said a port-mortem would be conducted to identify the bodies.
Kakas met the villagers last Friday and told them to hand over to police all those involved by today (Monday).
“If those suspects are not in (police custody) I will arrest people who are harbouring the suspects – meaning the entire tribe,” he said.
“I heard that two had fled and were living in another village and two others living in another village. Some of these suspects have called me and admitted it was a big mistake. They said they will surrender. So I told them to come in.”
Kakas said it was unusual because people in Enga “do not ambush others. This was against Engan culture.”
“They don’t sneak up to people’s houses. There are rules of engagement in tribal wars. They don’t kill when people are eating or sleeping”.
“This was against Engan culture,” he said.