Landmark court victory for clan

National, Normal

The National, Monday 25th March 2013

 AFTER 22 years of court battle, hardships and financial constraints the Bula Dalec clan of Yambo village in Bukawa, Morobe, was declared the principal landowners of Mt Lusambu where the Telikom repeater station is situated.

In a landmark ruling last Thursday, senior District Court magistrate Nasaling Bingtau declared that the Bula Dalec clan, led by John Martin, was the original owner of the land because their ancestors settled there first.

Bingtau, who was assisted by land mediators Bail Joel and Nathan Akwila, in a six-page ruling said: “John Martin and the Bula Dalec clan are awarded the leadership and controlling rights to manage and control the use of the Mt Lusambu Telikom repeater station land.

“Martin and the Bula Dalec clan shall distribute equally the royalties, compensation, benefits etc … from Telikom PNG Ltd with the Timbung Bagac, Ampo Dau, Timbung Gae, Umasu and Kawa No 3 clans in accordance with the Bukawa 


The court said the Bula Dalec clan through their ancestor Gwa Posolob were the first people to migrate and settle at Bula (Yambo) village before all the other disputing clans arrives.

In the same decision, the court also dissolved the Yambo Dalec clan saying it was not a known clan from the Yambo village but it was a “made-up” clan and declared it null and void.

The court also declared that Moyam Mambu as the clan leader of Ampo Dau clan and ruled out the leadership of Saking Tintang and others on the grounds that they were adopted clan members only and have no right to rule. 

Commenting on the court’s decision, an emotional Martin told The National that it was a win for the Yambo people who have been suffering for 22 years.

“The decision was awarded in my favour but I have made it clear that the win is for the Yambo people,” he said.

“Justice is done at last and God has heard the cries of the people,” he said.

Martin said he would automatically assume the role of the chairman and would ensure the benefits were shared equally among his people.

“We have no time to waste because for 22 years we have not received any payments from the use of our land,” he said.

The ownership of Mt Lusambu repeater station was disputed between the Yambo, Wedirus, Yamai and Bugang villages since the 1970s.

In 1991, the local land court gave the land to the Yambo villagers. The others villagers appealed the decision but the district land court again reaffirmed the lower court’s decision in 1996.

The Yambo villagers won the case against the other three villages but the court’s decision was not clear on who should be the custodians of the benefits emanating from the project and will distribute to the people.

This made matters complicated resulting in another court case among the eight different sub-clans of Yambo themselves.

Last Thursday’s decision now puts to rest two decades of infighting by locals of the Mt Lusambu Telikom repeater station.