Mystery death in police cell

Main Stories

A MAN who allegedly shot dead a police mobile squad commander and wounded another policeman in Hela was found dead in the Mt Hagen police station cell last Monday night.
Police Asst Comm for Western End Kaiglo Ambane told The National yesterday that a coroner inquest would be conducted into the matter.
“We do not know the cause of his death. It’s now the matter for the coroner to find out the cause of death,” he said.
The suspect identified as Lape Mope died around 11.30pm on Monday.
Ambane said he was one of the six people transported from Tari to Mt Hagen for questioning over the death of the late Sgt David Hale and the wounding of Constable James Kopi last month in Tari.
He said Hale and Kopi were returning to Tari from Komo on escort duty on Oct 15 when they were shot at a roadblock at Purini village. Hale died while Kopi was wounded on the leg.
Ambane said police officers and soldiers in Hela did not retaliate but gathered intelligence information on those involved.
They then went to the village, picked up 12 men and took to Tari for questioning.
Nine were released and three detained for further questioning.
Later the security forces received fresh information on those involved and returned to Purini village on Nov 7.
They arrested three men including Mope who is now dead.
Ambane said because of security reasons, the six men suspects plus those picked up earlier had to be taken to Mt Hagen and locked in the police station cell.
One was released later from Mt Hagen while Mope and four others remained in the cell.
Ambane thanked members of the security force in Hela for arresting the suspects.
“I also want to thank the people of Purini for their support and assistance in identifying the suspects and helping the security forces to arrest them,” he said.
Ambane said most people in Hela were peace-loving people and only a few were spoiling the name of the province.