Mekeo, Kerema groups reconcile

National, Normal

THE Mekeo and Kerema communities met on Saturday for the first time since the fatal shooting of PMV driver John Sare, between Eboa and Inauabui, that resulted in a three-week tense standoff.
Village chiefs from north, west and east Mekeo met in Eboa village to reconcile with a party from the Kerema community led by late Mr Sare’s mother and brother, Peter Sare, and the deceased’s son Max Miai Sare.
A total of K30,000 was handed over by Mekeo crisis chairman Charles Inapi to Peter and Max, whilst garden food, goods and five pigs came as part of the payment.
From the total, K10,000 was passed on to the immediate family of Peter.
The handover, a first in ongoing peace negotiations between both groups, followed the fatal shooting of John early last month in the Mekeo area.
The Hiritano Highway came to a standstill and angry Kerema travellers and the community demanded a hefty compensation package.
Gulf province youth chairman Terry Makana warned of the consequences of any further trouble.
Mr Makana said the youths’ mindset was not for peace, and they were set on war.
“Even with this reconciliation, it is no guarantee that the same kind of agreement would be possible the next time another incident occurs,” he said.
The late Mr Sare’s brother said he would continue to pursue K70,000 plus for his brother’s murder.
Saturday’s ceremony eased a little tension with four Kerema PMVs and a 30-seater bus in operation again.
Also present at the ceremony were Mekeo elders, village and local level government representatives, councillors and representatives from Bereina police station.