The National, Friday, June 10th 2011
COMMUNITY leaders in the Angoram district of East Sepik have praised Wewak police for a successful operation that netted 36 hardcore criminals, over 20 illegal firearms and stolen property, including six outboard motors worth over K50,000.
The 26 firearms picked up in the drag-net included an AK47 military rifle, 12 air guns, seven home-made guns and six stapler guns.
The weapons were either surrendered or retrieved by police with support from community members.
The operation was launched by provincial police commander Vincent Pokas after Easter following the theft of stationery, files and furniture from Angoram police station.
Led by policeman Stanley Samban, the operation covered the Angoram township and the neighbouring selected crime hot spots like Tambunum and Biwat areas.
Biwat community leaders Andrew Kimba, Mathew Mori and Ben Masandi praised police for disarming youths in Angoram town and along the Middle Sepik villages, saying they had terrorised the district with their guns.
The leaders said the people “are ready to work with police to weed out a minority group that is suppressing the entire population”.
Mori said lawlessness was hindering economic growth, especially cocoa production, and he called on the police top brass to beef up manpower in the district.
He said accommodation for police would not be a problem as the district had a number of public servants houses ready for occupancy.
A youth leader, Sakias Malaku presented a petition to the Pokas calling for an increase in police strength from the four regular members to over 20.
He said the district had a population of 25,000 people and with only four policemen, law and order would be a problem for Angoram.
Malaku asked for a resident magistrate and court house at Angoram and a rural lock-up for short term offenders.
Pokas assured them he had discussed the concerns with the police commissioner and the first 10 policemen would soon be posted to Angoram.
Pokas commended his men and the Angoram community for their support.