Kidnapped students, staff freed

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FIFTEEN Margarima Secondary School students and five teachers were kidnapped on Sunday morning and held captive for just under 24 hours.
The hostages were freed unharmed at night following successful negotiations by the police with the kidnappers comprising Hela villagers.
Provincial police commander Chief Supt Martin Lakari said the kidnapping was sparked by the deadly feud between Hela and Southern Highlands people in Port Moresby’s 8-Mile settlement on Friday night.
“The Hela villagers kidnapped 15 grade 9 and 11 students, and five teachers at the school in Komo-Margarima and held them captive in a remote location,” he said.
They acted after hearing that Sumbi Mendi-Munhui villagers had set up a roadblock on the Lai-Liri back road to Hela near Munhiu.
“These were all in reaction to the violence over the weekend in Port Moresby.
He added that the school principal was among the hostages. He said Margarima police and community leaders went into the remote location in Sumbi on Sunday night and successfully negotiated with the kidnappers for the safe release of the hostages.
“Police then escorted and transported the students and teachers safely back to Margarima,” he said.
“I want to appeal to people of Hela and Southern Highlands here to refrain from taking the law into their own hands. We should not try to create another problem here. We should maintain peace and harmony.”
Lakari commended Hela and Southern Highlands community leaders for their cooperation to help secure the safe release of the hostages. “They and police worked tirelessly till late Sunday night to prevent any further casualties.”


  • The feud in Port Moresby has nothing to do with people back at the provinces. Especially an individual, students, public servants, or intermarriages etc. These are very innocent people.

  • Again Police do nothing to charge people for these serious crimes of Kidnapping, this is a continual problem with no action taken, very poor policing. The only good thing is that the people were released, but action needs to be taken. There is no respect for the law.

  • What is going on up at Hela Province? There seem like there is no law and order in the province. Can the Government declare a state of emergency up there or better yet install marshal law there. There is complete disregard of the rule of law up there.!

  • ONE part of Hela that I know is the one you just read about. There is no Law except THEIR law which is cyclically Kill, Compensate, Payback…and you were informed of an action for payback…

    In most provinces, we fear & respect Government personnel and property…for the record a number of POLICEMEN have been killed in HELA, two Defense Force personnel have also been killed in Hela. WHAT WAS THE GOVERNMENTS RESPONSE????? ZERO. WHY??? HELA is different! Terrains, Communication, Community Relations, Very strong ties with customs (no one is HERO) and more than that, THEY HAVE THE MOST SOPHISTICATED WEAPONRY.

    The other part of HELA I know:
    If you are a stranger under a HULI’s care…He is willing to give his life to protecting you should an enemy attack you.
    Don’t flirt with a “Wandalii” if you’re an outsider, unless you’re ready to pay bride-price upon demand, if not your life.
    Never enter a Huli’s hamlet/compound without permission….trespassers are always attacked!
    You make a promise with a HULI, make sure you keep it!
    When you attack a Huli anywhere in the world, make sure you warn your fellowmen living in Hela to flee the province …they don’t care if for example, a Jiwakan from Koinambe is in trouble with a Huli, the Huli sees a Koinambean as Western Highlander and so ALL Western Highlanders are prone to be on the receiving end from a “payback”.
    NEVER self-invite yourself to a Huli man’s mumu.
    When sharing pork with a Huli, ensure there is equivalence of “Meat and Fat” in what you share. It is offensive to give only “meaty” or “fatty”…can lead to fight.
    So, what can we do??
    Best we can do is “PRAY against the DEMONS” that control our friends in Hela.

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