Kauba: Locals not working with police

National, Normal

The National, Friday, May 6, 2011

INVESTIGATIONS into Highlands Highway-related killings remain stalled because people are not co-operating, police said.
Assistant Commissioner Police Highlands region Simon Kauba told villagers at Barola hill, in Kainantu district, Eastern Highlands, they should find other ways of making money.
“In investigations into killings on the Highlands Highway are collecting dust because those with information never support the police,” Kauba said.
He addressed the people of the notorious Barola section of the highway after relatives of an armed gang leader gunned down by police last week sought compensation.
But he told them there would be no compensation.
He told them to seek help from the local Kainantu MP and get involved in projects
Kauba said they must do that instead of wasting time arming themselves and robbing the travelling public on the highway.
“We had cordial discussions on different ways to help them reduce crimes,” he said.
“They must be helped to meaningfully engage themselves in community sustaining activities so they stop hold-ups on the highway,” he said.
He said the government realised the importance of Highlands Highway and had invested heavily to ensure it was safe in all weather.
Barola villagers reportedly asked if they could be recruited as police but were told there was no money to hire them for duties.
Eastern Highlands provincial police commander Augustine Wampe said they want to see criminal activity between Kainantu and Kompri valley and Henganofi, along the Highlands Highway, reduced.
Superintendent Wampe said police did not have the money to keep reservists.
He too he urged the villagers to turn to their local MPs to help them set up community projects to keep them off the highway.
Wampe said the abandoned Barola police post would be revived and maintained to keep the highway free from hooligans.
A good number of people have been killed in the Barola section of the highway over the years.
Police from Goroka on their way into Kainantu last Friday in an unmarked vehicle were confronted by a group of armed men.
Police shot dead their leader and the rest fled into the bushes.