Settler: Lack of police presence creates fear

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday October 15th, 2013


LACK of police presence at a settlement in Lae has created fear among residents, following a recent ethnic clash, a resident says.

Settlers at Apo Block on the notorious Back Road yesterday requested police to deploy officers in the area to contain what they described as a tense situation.

Spokesman Patrick Dau said men were walking around the area armed with bush knives, guns, bows and arrows and they were afraid that violence might escalate.

Lae metropolitan commander Iven Lakatani had said last week he had the situation at Back Road under control and police had been deployed there to monitor the situation.

But Dau said police came when the fight started but had not returned since.

The fight started when a man claiming to be a landowner blamed the settlers at Apo Compound of stealing K30 from him. 

He cut down their banana trees.

The settlers confronted the man three days later and demanded an apology. But the man then mobilised his friends and attacked the settlement torching 18 houses.

Dau said the man was on the run.

He said the Red Cross Society in Lae gave them  mosquito nets, blankets and tents on Saturday.

“About three families are sharing a tent. People living in nearby areas are supplying us food daily,” He said.

Dau had earlier said a number of school children living in the area had not gone to school since their homes were torched with their belongings.