Human rights activist calls for action on squatters

National, Normal


AN environment and human rights advocate is calling on NCD Governor Powes Parkop and Police Commissioner Gari Baki to remove people squatting behind the Waigani market, after she became the victim of an hold up at the Waigani traffic lights.
Dorothy Tekwie and her family, including her elderly father, were held up at gunpoint while waiting for the green lights just 50m from the Waigani Police Station.
She was also with her son and a cousin when the attacked occurred at around 7.15pm last Friday.
None of them was hurt during the incident in which they had to fight off their attackers.
According to  Waigani police, who arrived 20 minutes later, the particular spot was notorious for such attacks.
Tekwie said: “I am calling on Parkop and Baki to clear up that area by removing all container and gardens in the area to the back of the market and to improve lighting at the junction turning-off to Morata.
“Reliable sources have told me that the place is a breeding ground for criminals and youths doing drugs.
Tekwie also said Waigani police should post personnel at that corner on busy evenings and keep youths from hanging around the junctions.
 She also warned driving to avoid using the left lanes at the junction and suggested they drive slowly towards the lights  until the lights turn green, so they would not have to stop. 
“I believe God saved our lives and we came out of the incident with no scratches,” she said.
Tekwie was driving back with her old father after picking up her son Joachim at the University of Papua New Guinea and a cousin at Rainbow when she was attacked.
“We put up a fight with the gang of about eight youths to stop them taking my car with my old father inside. My dad has a knee problem and had came down for medical reasons. I would not let anyone take or hurt my dad, who prompted us to resist the attack, as we did,” Tekwie said.
 She said their attackers had two guns pointed at her and one pointed at her cousin who was sitting offside. “I could not take the risk to drive off as there was another car in front that blocked me . The incident happened on a very busy street filled with cars and people.”
 Tekwie recalled: “A brave taxi driver, who I did not get to thank, came out of his taxi behind us with his bush knife and helped us fight off the attackers. They were not able to get my car as I threw the keys away and by the time they found it and tried to start my car, the taxi driver came to our aid and they fled taking my hand bag which contained a substantial amount of cash with them.”
Other items that were taken included two mobile phones, a digital camera, a walkie talkie radio, reading glasses, bank card and drivers licences.
Tekwie said she was disappointed that the public on the busy street, including drivers waiting for the green lights did not come to their aid, least of all by shouting or blowing horns to confuse the attackers.
 She said police came 20 minutes later “only to tell us ‘oh this corner is always a bad hold up point’ and they did not have car to work”.
“I fail to understand, no car is needed to have police presence at this spot. All it needs is two policemen standing there from time to time each busy Friday evening if police are aware the area is a ‘ hold up point’,” she said
“We have lost cash and property and I am not even going to bother to fill the OB at Waigani station because this was not the first time this has happened to good law abiding citizens outside their station and if they had been effective or learnt their lessons and cared, I would not have been a victim. Police do not even have a working tow truck resulting in the ignition of my new car being removed so that the car can be moved home and allow traffic to flow.