5 dead during uprising hailed as heroes

National, Normal

The National, Thursday 15th December 2011

MOROBE Governor Luther Wenge instructed the provincial peace and order committee to bury the bodies of a councillor and four youths who died in the recent unrest in Lae city at the old state cemetery, along Markham Road, Morobe.
“They died as heroes and champions for fighting against the lawlessness that affect the innocent citizens therefore they deserve a decent burial same as former vibrant political leader Utula Samana and administrator Ainea Sengero,” Wenge said.
Wenge shed tears throughout the funeral service led by Dr Zirayukic Kemung at the Redeemer church yesterday.
“After 36 years of political development, it’s a first of its kind in the province to experience five bodies from an unrest that has significance and more meaningful and I take my hat off to the deceased,” Wenge said.
The ethnic violence stemmed from frustrations over lawlessness in public places caused by vagrants picking pockets, harassing, and intimidating, abducting and raping women in broad daylight and street vending in Top Town, Eriku and the main market areas.
The deceased were Poahom ward 13 councillor Wanjo Bokam, 30; Ano Momo, 18, from Nabag, Nawaeb; Japeth Buka, 30, of Menyamya; Donald Soti, 28, of Pindiu, Finschhafen; and Basanangke Wanas, 29, Sialum, Tewai-Siassi district.
Bokam’s cause of death was yet to be verified, while Buka died from knife wounds.
The other three were allegedly shot by police and Wenge has asked for a coroner’s inquiry into their deaths.
“Conducting a funeral for five coffins at once is history in Morobe. It challenges Morobean leaders which way should we take as of today,” Wenge said.
Provincial events coordinator Bami Sorekinec said: “It’s a wake-up call for all Morobe political and bureaucratic leaders to stand united, work together and change focus of how to lead the people.
“The leaders have to stand united to lead not only the province but bring back confidence and trust to investors and citizens at large,” Sorekinec said.
He urged the leaders to get down to village level to ensure people understood the visions, aims, missions, aspirations and achievements of the province.