A PRISON escapee and a murder suspect are being hunted by Sandaun police following a riot on Oct 27 on the east coast of the province, near Aitape, in which several people were injured and property damaged.
Police went to the area last Friday in time to stop more than eight villages from taking the law into their own hands.
The eight villages told police they were fed up with the continuous attacks from Malol villagers.
Sandaun provincial police commander Chief Insp Sakawar Kasieng said yesterday the rioters, led by the two fugitives, had damaged market stalls and harassed innocent people including sellers, and almost killed a woman.
Chief Insp Kasieng said the woman had gone to the market area to buy mobile phone credits when she was surrounded by the men.
He said when she appealed to them to move away and asked what she had done wrong, she
was picked up and “spear-tackled” to the ground, suffering concussion as a result.
Chief Insp Kasieng said bystanders came to her
rescue immediately and rushed her to the hospital where she was revived by the medical staff.
He said Malol was a quiet and peaceful community but it was a minority giving a bad name to the village.
Chief Insp Kasieng said police conducted a raid at Molol last Friday, and arrested five people while the ring leaders managed to escape.
He said Otto Aro, also known as Spenser, was an escapee and the leader of the riot.
Aro was convicted for murder, rape and armed robbery and escaped twice from Boram jail in Wewak.
His assistant, Richard Ake had been on the run from police for six months following the death of his wife in a domestic argument, Chief Insp Kasieng said.
According to police, Ake had led his wife to their garden where a fight broke out resulting in the death of his wife.
Police said he took the body back to the village and buried it before informing relatives that his wife had died from a snake bite.
The family, unconvinced, reported the matter to police who also notified medical officers about the suspicious death.
Examination confirmed that she had not died from snake bite but from the use of force.