The National – Tuesday, February 1, 2011
By ZACHERY PER
A BELGIAN man is missing, believed murdered, in the remote Nondri area of Gumine, Chimbu, after he and his wife were abducted by a gang of men two weeks ago.
The pregnant wife was allegedly raped repeatedly for two days before she was rescued by tribesmen in the area, Chimbu police have reported.
Seven people, including a couple, have been arrested and charged in relation with the incident and yesterday appeared for mention in the Kundiawa District Court.
The National visited Gumine over the weekend and was told by locals that they strongly believed that expatriate Tony Boddin of Belgium had been murdered and buried in the thick jungle of the Bomai area.
Head teacher of Nondri Primary School Michael Sipa told The National in Gumine in an exclusive interview: “It was reported that one of the gunmen put the gun to his (Boddin’s) neck and fired, killing him instantly.
“We believe that he has been killed.
“Some villagers saw bloodstains on the trousers of some of them when they brought the wife out so it is strongly believed that they must have killed him,” Sipa said.
According to Sipa, the attackers abducted the couple on Jan 12 and tied Boddin to a post inside a house before taking his pregnant wife to a nearby bush where she was raped repeatedly.
The attackers later took the husband into the bush where they could have killed and hid his body. The wife was rescued by the head teacher and members of other sub-clans Toma and Barama of the Sa tribe.
She was reportedly treated at the Nondiri Health Centre before being taken to Gumine station.
She stayed with Sipa’s family near Gumine station and left for Jiwaka to be with her family before The National arrived in the area.
The woman told Sipa’s family that the next day, the men came to her armed with crowbars, spades and weapons so it was believed that they must have killed the husband.
Chimbu provincial police commander Chief Insp John Kale said police deployed to the area picked up five suspects, including a woman.
He said the thick jungle in the area had complicated their investigations, however, he would send more policemen into Nondri this week.
Boddin was an elderly retired member of the British defence force who later became a volunteer and came to PNG and was working in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville for some time before he went to the highlands.
Sipa said they knew that Boddin went with the Catholic church missionaries to Goroka before going to Chimbu and onto the Jiwaka region where he met his wife who has Manus and Jiwaka parents.
“The expatriate came and stayed with us at Nondri for four months. He remained in Nondri during the Christmas and New Year period,” Sipa said.
The expatriate went to Jiwaka and returned with his wife to Nondri and stayed with the people of the Gorekulame clan of the Sa tribe.
“He (Boddin) promised to help the people write proposals for development projects for the remote Nondri-Amia area,” Sipa said.
Dirima community leader James Wai condemned the action of a minority group of people, saying the people wanted changes and developments.
He said such incidents would scare off people and developments.
Particulars of the other suspects arrested would be made available soon after the completion of police files. The suspects had been remanded at the Kundiawa police cells.
Kale yesterday confirmed that a couple was among those arrested.
No motive for the abduction, rape and possible murder had been established.