By JULIA DAIA BORE
CHIEF Ombudsman Chronox Manek was shot and seriously wounded in Port Moresby last Friday by gunmen who attempted to kill him.
The gunmen attacked Mr Manek at about 10.30pm in front of his Korobosea home, as he was returning from an official function.
It appeared to be a planned attempt on his life, as the gunmen had followed him to the gates of his home.
Three gunmen with pistols got out of their vehicles and confronted him as he stopped at his gate, waiting for it to be opened.
Mr Manek told The National yesterday that he was followed by a sedan as he was driving home from a function.
He managed to shake that vehicle off his tail.
But when he pulled into his home, another sedan coming from the opposite direction of Malaoro pulled right in behind his Nissan Patrol and blocked him off.
His quick response was to reverse, and he rammed into the vehicle. As he tooted the horn for his family to open the gate, three men jumped out of that vehicle and approached him.
One of the men went to the front of his car and pointed a pistol at him. The other two men were on the two sides of his front car doors.
Mr Manek said the man on his right fired his pistol through the window and the bullet went through his (Manek’s) front shoulder and exited through the other side, injuring his shoulder.
Another shot was levelled at his right chest area but this shot might have bounced off his vehicle’s door, Mr Manek said.
He said after he was shot, the would-be killers got back into their car and drove off, “thinking I was dead”.
His wife Vagi said yesterday that she had indeed thought that her husband had been killed.
“But when they (the assailants) left, I heard him start the car and drive out of the driveway, I knew then that he was alright,” a shaken but relieved Mrs Manek said.
After the assailants left, Mr Manek said he tried to follow the vehicle that the assailants were travelling in down the stretch of the road.
But feeling dizzy from the shot and loss of blood, he drove to the nearby Paradise Hospital.
Yesterday, with his left hand in a sling and still looking shaken and worn out, Mr Manek said he believed the assailants were out to kill him, but God had saved his life.
He thanked God for his narrow escape from
being murdered at pointblank range, describing his escape as “a miracle”.
He also expressed his gratitude to staff at Paradise Hospital and Pacific International Hospital for their help.
Police Commissioner Gari Baki was briefed on the attempt on the life of Mr Manek.
Mr Baki said one of his senior officers had visited the Chief Ombudsman in his hospital bed soon after the incident, and had given him a verbal report.
Mr Baki also said while his officers were yet to fully investigate the incident to determine the motive for the shooting, he believed it might have been related to the sensitive nature of Mr Manek’s job as the Chief Ombudsman.
The police chief said that according to the verbal briefing of the incident, Mr Manek was in a stable condition.
“The police are determined to get to the bottom of this (shooting).”