53 clan members charged

National, Normal


FIFTY-three members of a clan from Upper Asaro in Daulo district, Eastern Highlands, should know by tomorrow whether they would be allowed bail or not.
The Namta clan members, held in Goroka police cell for fighting, appeared in court for mention yesterday before the Goroka District Court and learnt that they were also charged with contempt of court.
This was because they fought with Kauma clansmen at the grounds of the Goroka courthouse on Monday, where they disrupted court sittings.
Only a mother with a child was released on K200 bail as she was breast feeding the baby.
Three juveniles, a girl and two boys, were among the adults who remained in police custody.
They were taken to Bihute jail outside Goroka to be remanded pending bail application.
Lawyer representing the Namta tribe, Gabriel Gendua indicated before the court that he would
file bail application for each of them.
Both tribes, armed with bush knives, sticks, stones and homemade guns attacked each other at the Goroka court house and spilled into the police station.
When police intervened to quell the situation, they attempted to attack the police, who then called in reinforcement and rounded up the 53.
The clash in Goroka town between the clans spread to their villages in Upper Asaro, where an all-out tribal fight erupted.
Operator of the Sihereni Coffee plantation, David Orimari, said thousands of kina worth of properties were damaged and houses were burnt.
“Several people from both sides were injured but no deaths were recorded as yet, but the situation is very tense,” Mr Orimari said.
Eastern Highlands provincial police commander acting Supt Augustine Wampe confirmed the clash in Upper Asaro and deployed a Goroka police mobile unit on Tuesday.