The National, Wednesday October 9th, 2013
By JUNIOR UKAHA
A MAN was critically wounded, while others suffered minor injuries after two groups fought in a settlement in Lae, Morobe, last Sunday.
The fight began when youths from Apo compound on Backroad confronted a Bougainvillean man and demanded he apologise for damaging their food gardens.
Witness Patrick Dau said the man had last Thursday accused settlers at Apo of stealing K30 from him.
Dau said the man got drunk, armed himself with a bush knife, returned and felled their banana trees.
He said the man refused to apologise and instead mobilised youths from Busu compound to attack the settlers at Apo.
“Eighteen houses, including three trade stores, were burnt down,” Dau, an ex-policeman, said.
“A man was hospitalised after he was stabbed with a sharp knife on his shoulder.”
Lae metropolitan commander Iven Lakatani confirmed the incident.
“I have received reports of the clash. Several homes were reported to have been torched,” Lakatani said.
“I do not know what caused the fight but it is between people from Eastern Highlands and another group.”
Lakatani said he had sent policemen into the area to investigate.
The National visited the place yesterday and saw armed men walking around with bush knives.
“The situation is still tense but we want the law to take its course,” Dau said.
Most of the settlers who lost their properties in the clash were people from Eastern Highlands.
The suspect who started the fight had reportedly fled his home at the Ass Mango settlement and is in hiding, Dau said.
About 18 families had lost their belongings in the clash.