Homes razed, two injured in Kokopo

National, Normal

The National – Monday, December 20, 2010

A CONFRONTATION last Thursday which was sparked by land boundary disagreements in Kokopo, East New Britain has left four homes razed and two people hospitalised.
It is believed that the incident involved people from the Tinganawudu, Ulaulatava and Malakuna No. 4 wards and a family living nearby on plantation land called Ulapapu.
According to the interim chairman of the Ulamal Land Group association for the three wards, Isidore Vakain, the family at Ulapapu had been extending their boundaries into land belonging to the three wards.
This then resulted in the confrontation where two men from the three wards received knife wounds.
He said the family allegedly involved four police task force personnel from Baliora barracks who came into the villages at around 10am and 11am and instead of helping both parties to resolve the conflict, started discharging their guns.
Vakain said police were firing carelessly aiming at men, women, children and youths who fled for their lives, in fear of being shot.
He said it was evident that the police officers had been under the influence of alcohol at the time.
Seventy-six-year old Nobert Kale, who owned one of the homes at Ulaulatava that was burnt down, said he was at home at the time when two civilians and two police officers approached and one of the policeman was pointing a gun at him.
“I have not done anything wrong, I am not a rascal and this is my house,” he told police.
A young couple who were at the garden at that time only came back to find that their semi-permanent home had been razed.
Meanwhile, ENB police commander Supt Sylvester Kalaut and Kokopo police station commander Insp Jacob Singura said they had sent police into the area with Singura advising concerned parties to forward their complaints to him in writing.
It was understood that a meeting would convene on Wednesday between all concerned parties.