Fight after rush for betel nuts


LOOTING of a PMV bus full of betel nuts by smugglers from the Highlands in Agewairu village in Central caused a big fight between the locals and the Highlanders last week.
Central police rural co-ordinator Chief Inspector Patterson Birigi said the incident happened early last Friday morning but police intercepted and stopped the fight.
Birigi said it was alleged that a PMV belonging to a Mekeo villager went into Agewairu with bags of betel nuts to sell and the Highlanders jumped on the bus and started raiding the betel nuts which frustrated the Mekeo people and fight started.
“The driver of the bus put the bus on the road to block the traffic, police arrived just in time and contained the situation and also cleared the traffic, but the Highlanders escaped with the betel nuts.” Birigi said.
Central police commander Laimo Asi said betel nut trading was now a law and order issue and needed to be addressed properly.
He said police may put a stop to betel nut trading on the Hiritano Highway to avoid disruptions during elections.
Meanwhile, Birigi said there was a separate incident in Bereina on Monday where a PMV bus windscreen was smashed at Angabanga Bridge by a local.
He said the bus belonging to a Highlander was operating on the 400 route when the incident happened and in retaliation the Highlanders loaded up two buses and went to Bereina.
He said police apprehended the suspect and also advised the Highlanders to return as it was a police matter.
“The suspect is in police custody and he will be charged,” Birigi said.

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