Settlers attack wrong vehicle

National, Normal

The National, Monday August 5th, 2013


Sepik settlers at Meiro River near Madang Airport, thinking that their candidate for the Madang town mayor’s race had won, nearly destroyed a vehicle carrying a coffin last Friday.

The Meiro community were focused on counting and the progressive results for the Madang town mayor’s seat all through last week and were on alert last Friday when primary counting was completed.  

Witness Bonjo Arungu said the  community was anticipating their candidate, Theodor Mandoma’s results when a white open back vehicle with its blinking hazard lights drove through the Meiro public tank and airport back road.

“When people saw the vehicle approaching, they started yelling ‘Yes ya Theodor win, Theodor win hurray Theodor win’,” Arungu said.

He said women and children swimming at the Meiro River left everything and danced their way out to the road to meet the approaching vehicle, while some men and boys hit and nearly ripped off roofing irons at their homes as they ran. 

He said when the vehicle stopped they realised that it was carrying a body.  

“Our joy turned to anger as some men screamed at the driver and threatened to cut the dead body on the vehicle,” Arungu said.

Arungu said the people were angry because the vehicle had no red strips of laplap tied around to indicate it was carrying a body.

He said the vehicle carried the body from Lae and was transiting to Bogia then on to Biwat, in East Sepik, when it dropped in to call on other relatives there. 

After the completion of primary counts last Friday, the top four candidates saw Joe Yama record 823 votes; Anton Mende on 560 votes, Theodor Mandoma on 523 votes and Saun Dambui on 491 votes.

Elimination process for 38 candidates for the Madang town mayor’s post continues today.