The National, Wednesday 15th May 2013
By ELIAS LARI
OWNERS of public motor vehicles and trucks in Western Highlands have suspended services to Tari in Hela because of attacks on drivers and passengers.
They claimed yesterday that a group of armed men set up a roadblock at Ambua on Sunday where some women were attacked, more than K16,000 and valuable items stolen and the windscreens of two buses smashed.
They are believed to be from the Tikipi and Wapia tribes residing at Ambua and were armed with a rifle and home-made guns.
Tari police station commander Peter Buka could not be contacted and Western Highlands commander Supt Martin Lakari said he was not aware of any roadblock or protest.
PMV owners said the locals put logs across the road, forcing the drivers to stop. They took money from them and attacked the female passengers.
The drivers returned to Tari to report the matter to police but said an officer manning the station at the time told them “em no problem bilong mipla yupla go stretim wantaim haus lain long hap ino long hia” (This is not our problem. You have to go back to the roadblock and solve the matter there and not here).
On Monday, 22 PMV buses at Tari returned to Mt Hagen without taking on any passengers. Yesterday, they decided to stop services.
Kuli councillor Petrus Komi, a PMV owner, said their services were suspended until a favorable response came from the leaders and police.
“We want an investigation into the police personnel who were manning the police station when the complaint was lodged and the culprits who set up the roadblock,” he said.
Komi said Tari-Pori MP James Marape, Komo-Margarima MP Francis Potape and Governor Anderson Agiru must talk to their people and Tari police. He suggested they also talk to the Tikipi and Wapia tribes to stop their men from blocking the roads at Ambua.
Kurki community leader John Ongi from the Anglimp LLG in Jiwaka Ongi said the damage to the two PMV buses was more than K12,000.