Highlanders deny any part in killing

Lae News, Normal

The National, Friday, June 10th 2011

THE affected Western Highlands community in Lae say they had nothing to do with the death of the Kabwum youth that sparked the attack against them by Kabwums and opportunists.
Spokesman Joe Paraka, who acted as the master of ceremony yesterday at Eriku oval for their petition presentation to Morobe Governor Luther Wenge, said they did not know who the murderer was.
Witnessed by his people, Paraka told police, senior leaders from the provincial government and administration that his people suffered grossly in the retaliatory attacks but they had never been part of the planning and carrying out of the murder.
Paraka said yesterday morning after word of the murder went out; the same affected Western Highlanders grouped and contributed food and money towards the family of the murdered youth as a sign
of respect and sorrow.
He said they were taken by surprise when the Kabwums attacked them in the space of a few hours.
Paraka urged the police to be thorough in their investigations in order to bring to justice those responsible.
The affected people, who have been left traumatised by that attack, painted their faces with dirt and marched from Kam­kumung Kona into Eriku in a peaceful and organised manner.
They even took the responsibility of setting up a stage.
Paraka said the affected families had 105 students from elementary schools up to universities who “are now directly affected by their families’ displacement following the attack”.
Paraka passed his condolences to the relatives of the murdered youth on behalf of the affected people, which included a small number of Papua New Guineans and Morobeans who were attacked and had their property destroyed.
He said they would now wait for directions from authorities and the Kam­kumung landowners on whether they could move back into their blocks of land and rebuild their shattered lives.