The National, Thursday April 14th, 2016
By DOROTHY MARK
THE Sepik community in Madang has apologised for setting up illegal road blocks over the weekend during the fight against the Western Highlanders.
Ward councillor for Ward eight in Madang Urban LLG, Samson Gaan said Sepiks felt threatened when highlands buses blocked off the Paramed road on Saturday.
Gaan said word spread quickly that some Sepik youths at RD Tuna canners had stoned a PMV bus belonging to a Western Highlander and the bus owner’s relatives had blocked off the Paramed road and intended to hunt down Sepiks.
Gaan said when Sepiks heard that Western Highlanders had ransacked a hardware shop in town and removed all the bush knives, they felt threatened and expected the worst. So they quickly mobilised and put up the road blocks to defend the surrounding Sepik communities.
“We at the roundabout also defended those Western Highlanders living among us,” Gaan said.
“We protected their properties because we knew they are part of our community. We were only on the lookout for those men with bush knives who would attack us.”
Gaan said RD Tuna workers and the facility would have come under attack if the roadblock was not put up.
“We also apologise to Hardware Haus over what our rivals have done and to all those who were threatened by the Western Highlanders,” Gaan said.
“We also apologise to Lae Metro Supt Anthony Wagambie Jr for leaving your command to attend to us. We say sorry to Madang PPC Supt Jacob Singura and all Madang police.”
He said the Sepik community wanted police to investigate the root cause of the problem – the individuals who stoned the Western Highlander’s PMV bus at RD Tuna.
Gaan also apologised to Madang businessman Stanley Pill for the loss of his properties burnt during the unrest.
There was no actual fight between two groups but men armed with knives created panic in town and the Sepiks set up road blocks to defend themselves.