Official says crime rising at Banab Bridge


Bag-snatching and fights at the collapsed Banab Bridge in Madang have escalated and police are being outnumbered there, a provincial official says.
On Friday, a Filipino foreman working on the bridge construction site was stabbed by a local youth during his lunch break.
Madang’s newly appointed acting administrator, John Bivi, said the foreman was rushed to Modilon Hospital.
In other incidents, bags belonging to six women were snatched the same day.
Bivi said law and order had gotten out of hand at the bridge as locals took advantage of the situation.
He urged community leaders from nearby areas to work together to fight crime and ensure the safety of travellers.
“Six women had their bags snatched by locals from the area. Everyday they are robbing people and snatching bags,” Bivi said.
“I have engaged policemen from Madang town to monitor law and order near the bridge because the ones at Talidig police station were over powered by the locals.”
Karkar Island’s biggest service provider Atis Deme said opportunists were taking advantage of the situation.
Deme said there were so many fights recently that saw houses being burnt down in retaliation at the Surumarang village.
He said the bypass created from Banab village to Wasab and connecting Matugar village was okay but it was more expensive using that route because locals were stationed at certain spots collecting a fees of K200 from each vehicle.
The Works Department in Madang started work on the bridge a few weeks ago.
The bridge collapsed on Jan 4 under the the weight of a semi-trailer carrying an excavator.
Madang Works manager Andrew Kendaura said it would take four months to complete the bridge.
The Madang-Bogia road is a national highway and the Banab Bridge is one of the main links there.

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