By ANDREW ALPHONSE
DRUNKEN youths armed with bush knives, beer bottles and other missiles ran riot in Tari town, Southern Highlands province in the early hours of yesterday.
At about 5:30am yesterday, drunkards stormed the local Kupari Catholic church and ransacked the Catechist’s house.
A local Catholic priest and mission station helper, who tried to stop the drunkards, were attacked by the intoxicated youths.
The priest is nursing a swollen leg while the helper was nursing bruises to his face.
The priest said the drunkards looted the Catechist’s house and took mattresses, clothings, cooking utensils, an electronic type-writer and other belongings.
Police in Tari said around 6:00am, the same group of drunkards then marched up to Tari town and intimidated local business houses and attacked some security guards who tried to stop them.
Early morning vendors at the main market were chased away before Tari based police mobile squad MS9 unit responded and arrested three of the drunkards who are now behind bars at the Tari police station cell.
The drunkards were frustrated with police for assaulting one of their mates who was caught drinking beer with them.
Police said the drunkards attempted to fight with the police and burn down the empty Tari police station building.
Fortunately, MS9 members led by commander chief Sergeant Peter Buka intervened and arrested three of the youths while the other three fled.
Tari mayor Ken Arawi confirmed the incident and called for the provincial government to immediately impose a liquor ban in Tari and Hela.
Mr Arawi said the increase in law and order problems each day in Tari and Hela was caused by beer and called for the ban to be immediately effected.
MS9 policemen told The National yesterday that they were now targets of alcohol-related violence and lawlessness incidents in Tari.
They said over the past few days, four members of their squad were attacked by drunkards and were now nursing injuries.
The MS9 members were attacked while trying to intervene and control drunkards who were misbehaving and terrorising members of the travelling public.
They said three of their members were ambushed and attacked last Friday evening at Yangome village after returning from a patrol along the Tari to Margarima section of the Highlands Highway.
The policemen were returning after patrolling the Mt Ambua section of the highway in the look-out for a armed gang who had been holding up and robbing vehicles and passengers in the last few days.
They said upon arriving at Yangome, they were ambushed and attacked by drunkard youths who were armed with home-made guns, beer bottles, bush-knives, sticks and stones.