Locals claim police destroyed properties

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday October 8th, 2013

 MORE than 20 houses were allegedly burnt and properties destroyed by Tari police at Para village, in Komo district, Hela, last week, locals say.

Locals said police came in 11 vehicles from Tari and raided the village, burning houses, stores, two lodges, a vehicle, a 15-seater bus, five generators and pigs.

Hela provincial police commander Jimmy Onopia yesterday confirmed the raid but did not give any details.

Para ward councillor Kulai Pongorali said the manner in which police conducted the raid was illegal.

“The way in which the police officers involved in the raid acted was really inhuman. Destroying properties and other important assets of the village is unacceptable,” he said.

“I want the police hierarchy to look into this matter and investigate these rogue police officers who are tarnishing the good image of the police force.”

He said Komo police should be consulted before moving into the area as Para was in their patrol zone.

“Instead of the Komo police intervening, the Tari police were engaged, which was not right,” Pongorali said.

It is understood that police carried out the raid in search of men, believed to be from Para village, who were allegedly responsible for the killing of two Chinese nationals on Sept 26.

The Chinese nationals had been running a mini trade store business in the area, owned by a Paraja tribesman.

It was reported that the store owner had alerted Tari police and they raided the village.

Pongorali said village leaders had agreed to pay the compensation demand to the Paraja clan and hand the suspects to the police after their properties were destroyed.