Man killed in city fight

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Bryan Kramer

ACCUSATIONS over the theft of a mobile phone triggered an ethnic clash in which a man died, forcing the closure of businesses in a busy Port Moresby suburb yesterday, police say.
National Capital District Metropolitan Superintendent Perou N’dranou confirmed the death of Atai Leana Vaburi of Wanigela village in Central.
He said the clash yesterday which forced shops and the popular Koki fish market to close was between the people from Hela and those from Wanigela in Central.
It began at around 4pm on Sunday when a woman from Wanigela complained that her phone had been stolen.
A security guard from Hela accosted the thief and retrieved the phone which he handed back to the woman.
But the Wanigela people, suspecting that the security guard himself was the thief, assaulted him.
The guard sought help from his Hela people at Koki and a fight ensued, in which Vabiru died.
Met Supt N’dranou said the fighting died down on Sunday at about 10pm after the Wanigela leaders intervened.

Justin Tkatchenko

“However the clash erupted again this (yesterday) morning at 6am forcing the closure of shops and the markets,” he said.
“There was stone-throwing and people chasing each other around the shops and bus stops.
“Police officers intervened and stopped the fighting from escalating.”
Police Minister Bryan Kramer and Moresby South MP Justin Tkatchenko also helped in stopping the fighting.
Wanigela village councillor Tommy Mano said there was a clash earlier between them and the people of Goilala in Central.
Met Supt N’dranou said the Hela people at Koki had identified who caused Vabiru’s death and would hand him over to police.
“The fight leading to the death is due to the misunderstanding between the Goilala, Hela and Wanigelas,” he said.
He said other people were injured during the clash.
In the meantime, police are on the ground monitoring the situation.
“We have also advised shops to close for the day until we assess the situation. We are here to ensure that the situation cools off.”


  • Mobile phones, cigarettes, buai, 20 toea, K1, K100,,, such small things that most of this animal brains think that its worth taking a life for it.. Common sense and right thinking people should stop such incidents to escalate at the earliest. When people start mobilizing their ethic tribesmen, this is what we get. And its becoming a normal way of life already in PNG like how our ancestors lived…..fastforward to the 21st century.

    • For God’s sake, the fone was retrieved and returned, why all that nonsense. The woman should at first thank God. How will this government take back this Country?

  • Wanigela at Koki is NOT a village. It is a settlement. Do not report it as a village. IT IS NOT MOTU KOITABU. They are from Kupiano/Aroma district. Their grand parents came to Koki on double hull canoes and anchored near the market. Today they live in houses that were built where their canoes were anchored. Wanigela is just like other settlements in the city of Port Moresby. Motu Koitabu villages are on their customary land….. not like Wanigelas. If settlements are to be removed then WANIGELA SETTLEMENT is included. For your information!

  • The woman having her phone returned should of been grateful to the good Lord who had intervened to have her phone retrieved and returned to her. God was at work that very moment.

    Why didn’t she speak about God’s miraculous power rather than prey on Satan’s doing that caused another form of violence leading to death and uprisings amongst ethnic groups.

  • Some people have run away from their villages and provinces from trouble fighting and have settled in other urban areas to cause chaos and disaster. Their own province is riddled with continuous killings and trouble fights.
    Their Governor and MPs think its normal. There is no political will to restore peace and harmony in their province. If their communities are trouble free, there would be less rural urban drift resulting in overcrowding and popping up of unnecessary squatters and settlements. if their leaders seriously fund/take anti trouble fighting and firearm surrender activities head on, people would remain in their own communities and involve in agriculture and contribute meaningfully. The delay of PNG LNG project funds payments is a contributing factor of LO beneficeries waiting and increasing in number. More influx of people are migrating in the hope receiving their payments. What is wrong with leaders and MPs of their province???

  • The Goilalas stole the phone and the TNT retrieved it and gave it back to the owner. The settlers from Wainegela should have at least appreciated the fact that the woman got her phone back. Instead, they challenged both the Goilalas and the TNTs and one of their guys got clobbered and met his death. Wainegelas should blame themselves!

  • True Wanigelas are not Motu Koitabuabs, but the Wanigelas arrived in POM before independence and eventually made Koki as home and peacefully integrated with the locals. The Hela people most have come because of tribal wars and killing and sought safe haven in Pom. and instead of intergrating peacefully, have continue to practice their tribal wars and killings from which they escape from in the first place. If you cannot live in peace with the locals and other ethnic groups then it is fair that you be asked to leave.

  • Same troubles with same ethnic group. What a shame for the leaders belonging to this group. You doing enough or watching? Still the same people! They need an overhaul in their brain…

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