Police appeal for calm, want case investigation left to them
ON Wednesday afternoon, a man was slashed to death in Moresby North East’s 9-Mile settlement. It sparked tensions between youths in the settlement and the Hela people. The killer’s house was razed.
However, police moved in swiftly in numbers to stop the violence from escalating. Gordon police station commander Insp Mark Mosinakave issued an immediate appeal to settlers to remain calm and civil, let the police investigate the murder and hunt down the killer.
Yesterday, escorted by policemen and the settlement’s youths, The National’s crime reporter SYLVESTER WEMURU and photographer JOEL HAMARI checked out the crime scene amid tensions remaining high.
A 40-YEAR-OLD man with two wives and seven children was slashed to death with a bush knife over a K100 dispute in Moresby North East on Wednesday.
Angry youths and relatives of Solomon Tolvita retaliated by burning down the killer’s house in the 9-Mile settlement at 4pm.
The murder sparked tensions between Tolvita’s relatives and friends with highlanders from Hela (the killer is from Hela and Tolvita is from Gulf).
However, dozens of policemen led by Gordon police station commander Insp Mark Mosinakave rushed to the scene and managed to speak to the settlers and calmed them.
He appealed to Tolvita’s family, relatives and settlers to remain calm and civil, and to leave it to the police to investigate the murder.
“We are hunting for him now.
“Please cooperate with us,” he told the settlers.
Tolvita’s elder sister, Margret, told The National that her brother borrowed K100 from the Tari man last year but could not repay him because “my brother was unemployed”.
“He also apologised to the man.
“He promised to repay the Highlands man when he returned from work in Wewak where he was recently offered employment as a truck driver by a construction company.
“But the man refused to listen and demanded that he returned his K100 with interest,” she added.
She said Tolvita, from Malalauwa’s Kukupi Village, was walking home when the man followed him, slashed him twice on the head from behind with a bush knife.
Tolvita collapsed and the man continued slashing him on the face.
The assailant and his wife have fled the settlement.
“This is the first murder in this block since we moved in.
“Last year, our national leaders helped the families of the victims of the three men killed at 8-Mile and also in Erima.
“Now, no one seems to care,” Margret lamented.
She and settlers have demanded that the man and his wife surrender to the police.
A witness who did not wish to be named said: “On several occasions I told the people living in the Kerema block that he (the Highlander) will kill anytime.
“It has come true.”
A leader at the block said the same group of people kidnapped two men from Kerema in 2011 at their work place and killed them.
“The case is still under (police) investigation and the suspects are still on the run.
“The Government must look at the issues and address it immediately,” he added.
Insp Mosinakave told The National that the murder suspect was still on the run and “we are searching for him”.
“Policemen have been deployed to the settlement to ensure law and order prevail and reduce tension between the two groups of people,” he added.
Late last year, a similar clash between people living in a settlement at 8-Mile resulted in the death of a university student.
Houses were destroyed during the clash.