By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
INDONESIAN poachers and Papua New Guinean villagers allegedly attacked two PNG Customs officers with bush knives during an inspection of suspected illegal trading activities in Western, acting South Fly police commander Supt Brian Kombe says.
“These Customs officers had attempted to inspect the Indonesian boat at Kadawa village on Wednesday at about 4pm when one of the Indonesians slashed the ear of one of the officers with a knife,” Kombe said.
“The Kadawa villagers also bashed up the other Customs officer and damaged the fuel drum of the PNG Customs boat in an attempt to prevent them from escaping.”
Supt Kombe said yesterday that four Custom officers attempted to search the boat of the suspected four Indonesians poachers who had arrived at Kadawa village from Merauke in West Papua.
He said the two officers had gone ashore to the village to ask the purpose of the Indonesians’ visit while the other two Customs officers remained in their boat.
When the two officers were attacked, villagers also damaged a fuel drum on the boat and its operator fearing further damage sped off with the two officers but leaving the other two.
Supt Kombe said the operator and two officers later called local police to rescue them after their boat ran out of fuel and started to drift.
He said the two Customs officers who had been attacked were rescued by a local councillor.
Supt Kombe said he had sent police officers yesterday to the village to arrest the Indonesians and those who had attacked the Customs personnel but they had gone into hiding. Two suspects were arrested.
He said police confiscated the Indonesians’ boat loaded with Indonesian made store goods and brought it to Daru. They also brought back the two officers.
Supt Kombe said when the suspects were brought to Daru, local residents wanted to bash them up but police personnel prevented the attack. The suspects were detained at the Daru police station.
The injured Customs officers were taken to the Daru General Hospital for treatment.
By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK