By GERALDINE VILAKIVA
POLICE in Lae are treating the kidnapping of a Labu-Talie village couple last Friday as very serious.
They have condemned it in the strongest terms and demanded that the couple be released by their captors alive and unharmed.
At Labu-Talie village, in the Huon Gulf district, fear was growing about the safety of the couple.
Villagers are waiting for word about their whereabouts and their safety.
Morobe provincial police commander Supt Peter Guinness said police did not know the motives for the kidnapping but they were treating the case very seriously “and will not tolerate such actions”.
“This is a stern warning to the kidnappers that they must release the couple unharmed and alive,” Supt Guinness said.
He condemned the weekend incident in which the Buang people carried out a dawn raid on Labu-Talie village near Lae and burnt down 33 homes and caused widespread destruction to food gardens after the kidnapping, in the strongest terms.
The couple had been kidnapped last Friday morning from their garden which was near the mouth of the Buang River by some men believed to be from Buang.
The villages were not aware of the incident until late on Friday evening when a villager, who went to the garden, found widespread damage to food crops and traces of blood on the ground.
Police personnel were dispatched to the area yesterday but had not found the couple prompting Labu leaders to appeal to Bulolo MP Sam Basil to intervene and secure the release of the couple.
The leaders appealed to Mr Basil to do all he could in his power as the Member representing the Buang people in the National Parliament to ensure the couple was released alive and unharmed.
Attempts yesterday to contact Mr Basil, who was in his electorate, were unsuccessful.
Yesterday, Labu-Talie elders met with police and later the Morobe provincial disaster officials to seek assistance for the villagers who had lost their food gardens which had been destroyed by the Buang men.