By Malum Nalu
Tari-Pori MP and Finance Minister James Marape has commended the people of Hela for not taking the law into their own hands after the recent killing of two Hela policemen in neighboring Southern Highlands.
He said yesterday that Hela people wanted to take revenge on innocent Southern Highlanders living there, but they were stopped by their leaders.
“Let me commend the families of the two policemen who were murdered in Southern Highlands for not taking matters into their own hands,” Marape said.
“I also commend the leadership of Hela which stood behind Governor Philip Undialu, minister Petrus Thomas and provincial administrator William Bando, in appealing for calm.
“There must be no payback for what happened.”
Marape said people in the Highlands were known for payback murders, however, this was not the case after the killing of the two policemen. “Our people have responded very well,” he said.
“As a senior leader from Hela, my heart goes out to the families of the deceased, and three other policemen who were injured and still traumatised at seeing their comrades shot in front of them.
“The nation must appreciate the mindset and transformation that is taking place in Hela, with people now moving on from the ‘Hela of the past’, to the real intrinsic values of the Hela people; a people who share, care and forgive easily.
“Many times it’s tooth-for-tooth, eye-for-eye, but in this instance, it is not the case.”
Marape said Hela had shown its true colours by having a peaceful 2017 general election and this was continuing after the killing of its two sons.
“The rest of the Highlands, and the country, had a lot of violence during the election but (violence in) Hela was very minimal,” he said.
“In this instance now, about seven Southern Highlanders were taken by Hela people, but were let free after calls from Hela leaders.”
Marape called on police to continue their investigations and bring the perpetrators to justice.
By Malum Nalu