The National, Mondy 14th November 2011
By JAMES APA GUMUNO
THE Nipas of Southern Highlands have given 14 days to Western Highlanders to pay compensation for the death of a man before they can travel on the Nipa section of the road in Southern Highlands.
The relatives of Samuel Maif, from Ekanda village, gave the warning during a gathering on Saturday at Nipa station where they held up two fuel tankers, four two-container trucks and an escort vehicle belonging to Michaels N Michael trucking company based in Western Highlands province.
The Nipas want the compensation before trucks owned by Western Highlanders engaged in the liquefied natural gas project continue to transport goods into the Hela region of Southern Highlands.
The relatives alleged that Maif was murdered by a lawyer and three of his brothers from Baiyer in Western Highlands, at Vanimo on Sept 2.
The relatives claimed they had taken the matter up with provincial police commander Teddy Tei in Mendi seven times.
They said Tei tried his best to contact the lawyer and his relatives in Baiyer to pay compensation but had been unsuccessful.
Nipa district administrator Robin Pip, who was present during the gathering, said yesterday the relatives held up the convoy of trucks on Friday morning and kept them at Nipa station.
Pip said on Saturday, relatives of the deceased told the owner of the trucks and peace mediation committee members that they had been patient for too long.
They said they had gone through the right process to get compensation but it had been ignored.
Pip said after a lengthy mediation, the relatives released the trucks to the owners.
He said the relatives gave a 14-day notice to the people of Baiyer to pay K500,000 and 200 live pigs in compensation.
He said the relatives of the deceased issued a strong warning that if the Western Highlanders failed to pay they would burn trucks belonging to any Western Highlander travelling on Nipa’s section of the road.
District peace and good order committee chairman Hoil Lol said according to his records 17 Nipas had been killed by Western Highlanders.
Lol said Nipas did not retaliate and kill any Western Highlander in revenge.
But, he said, “enough is enough and we want the people from Baiyer to pay compensation and resolve the matter peacefully between the people from the two provinces”.