Hela public servant, family held up in Nipa

Main Stories

A senior public servant from Hela, his wife, and three children and five other people were held hostage by the people of Nipa district before they were rescued by three public servants from the area.
Department of Hela’s director of economic services Jerry Walapi, pictured, told The National yesterday that he and his family, his driver and four students were held hostage for 22 hours in a house at the foot of Tondom Hill in the Koroba local level government on Sunday before being rescued the next day.
Walapi said they were returning to Hela from Mt Hagen when they came across a roadblock set by armed thugs wanting to take revenge on anyone from Tari for the killing of their man.
He said the criminals set a roadblock where a vehicle belonging to a landowner of Angora oil and gas projects in the Tari-Pori district killed one of their men in Nov 2015.
Walapi said that in the past they set similar roadblocks and got four vehicles belonging to Taris.
He said when they arrived at the scene at around 1pm, the thugs told them to get out of the vehicle.
“They attacked us with stones, bush knives and sticks all over our body before taking us into a bush material house and locked us up until the next morning,” he said.
Walapi said two teachers and a policeman convinced their captors that they were from Kopiago and not Tari so they were released.
However, the captors did not return his official vehicle, a 10-seat blue Land Cruiser, Registered EG 928.