Guns used in 4-Mile settlement fight stir emotions

Lae News, Normal

The National- Monday, January 24, 2011

 FIGHTING erupted again yesterday morning at the notorious 4-Mile settlement in Lae.

Men armed with guns, bows and arrows, slingshots, and bush knives fought in the settlement and continued onto the main road.

The fight was believed to have started when a man was killed last Saturday night. 

Police, from the neighbouring 3-Mile police station, where the task force is based, did not give details of the dead man or his suspected killers.

They however, did not rule out the possibility that it was a continuation of the fight of more than two weeks ago.

In that all-out fight, settlers from the ridge top of 4-Mile, commonly known as Lufa mountain because it is occupied by people of Lufa, Eastern Highlands, took on the residents of the Markham River flats.

One of the victims was Esa’ala MP Moses Maladina, whose home was set alight.

Yesterday’s fighting left many travelers going to the Highlands and Madang on PMVs and the early morning Air Niugini flight to Port Moresby with no choice but to abort their trips and returned.

Others were heading to town. One of them was philanthropic lawyer Kelly Naru, who was driving to Lae from his Yalu village to attend church service. 

He had to turn around and head back home. 

Another was Bulolo MP Sam Basil, who was driving to Lae as well, slowed to a stop as he heard guns fired and saw motorists ahead of him making u-turns, forcing him to return to his home at 14-Mile.

“People no longer respect law and order and are taking the law into their own hands. If they can fire guns in front of my eyes and police officers, then, what can we expect next?” Basil said. 

He was bitter that the national government was not funding the police department adequately while forcing the police to risk their lives.

The three police vehicles, a task force and two mobile squads, went into the area to contain the situation.

However, witnesses said the rivals did not fear the police force and went at each other.

Police then set up road blocks at the 4-Mile market to ensure that road was clear for traffic to pass while the rival factions retreated into their residences. 

The situation was still tense.