Two injured, 18 houses burnt in roadblock riot


TWO young men suffered serious gun wounds and 18 houses were burnt in Kainantu, Eastern Highlands following a standoff between police and disgruntled Kainantu landowners who had blocked the Kainantu section of the Highlands Highway.
The shooting and burning occurred on Tuesday night when police removed the roadblock at Bane Creek Bridge just outside Kainantu town.
According to Eastern Highlands police commander Superintendent Alex N’Drasal, the standoff led to a police raid when Kainantu youths stoned police after they removed the blockage.
Eyewitnesses, who preferred not to be identified, confirmed that one of youths allegedly shot by police was rushed to the Goroka Provincial Hospital and was in critical condition at the intensive care unit (ICU).
They said the other, not so critically injured, was nursing his wounds at the Kainantu Health Centre.
N’Drasel said police reinforcements from Henganofi and Yonki were deployed to ensure the situation did not escalate beyond control.
He urged travellers and motorists, especially PMV “tulait tulait” buses and trucks carting betel nuts into  Highlands to avoid travelling in the night as the situation remained tense.
The situation saw Kainantu town remain deserted yesterday, with only a few people coming into town to do urgent business as police were monitoring the situation.

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