Nipa resorts to citizen arrests

National, Normal


THE people are resorting to making “citizen’s arrests” of offenders because of a lack of policemen in Nipa, Southern Highlands, according to district administrator Robin Pip.
He told The National from Nipa last Thursday that the people were “fed up” and they were dealing with the trouble makers themselves.
Mr Pip reported a fight recently at Kware village in which a youth’s hand was cut off. Members of the community arrested the suspect and took him to Nipa police station where he was locked up.
The suspect escaped from the cell but bystanders caught him and threw him back behind bars.
Mr Pip said in another incident last month at Poiya village in Upper Nipa, a man was murdered following land dispute.
He said the people tied the suspect’s hands with rope and dragged him about a kilometre to the police station.
In a separate incident last week at Egenda village, a 19-year-old boy, identified as Jun John, was allegedly stabbed to death by a woman who accused him of stealing from her garden.
Mr Pip said the locals beat up the woman and took her to Nipa police.
He said provincial police commander Supt Jimmy Onopia travelled to Nipa and took the suspects to Mendi.
Mr Pip said Nipa had more than 120,000 people but was manned by only four aging policemen with no vehicles and logistics support.
He said several requests for additional manpower had fallen on “deaf years”.
“People felt that since the State and its agents cannot be responsible for their law and order problems, they are now
taking ownership and making citizen’s arrests of criminals and offenders,” he added.
He said the image of Nipa as a lawless place was set to change when communities now take ownership of law and order.
He said there was a decrease in lawlessness activities along the Nipa section of the Highlands Highway into Tari and Hela region.
Mr Pip said there no longer were armed Nipa youths terrorising, harassing and robbing passengers and travellers along the highway.