Settlers homeless after fight

National, Normal

The National, Thursday November 7th, 2013

 TWO alleged rapes at Awa Block, in Lae, have resulted in the burning down of six homes.

Settlers, mostly from the Sepik provinces and Southern Highlands, who live on the land along the disaster-prone Bumbu River, were left homeless.

The alleged rapes occurred on Tuesday after some youths living opposite Awa Block abducted the women and assaulted them.

Awa Block committee Joel Hal, Samson Hogai and Petrus Pia said the attack occurred around noon as women were walking up the Bumbu River to Kamkumung.

Later in the evening, another married woman was abducted and allegedly raped by some youths in front of her husband. 

Hal said settlers at Awa tried to rescue the two women but ended up in a fight with the alleged rapists.

“In the evening, during the second incident, Awa youths responded but ended up in the same situation,” Hal said.

Tension remained overnight until leaders from Awa and Boala Block resorted to mediation talks in the morning.

Hal said Awa settlers settled the issue with Boala landlords by giving them K115 yesterday morning.

“But Hengali youths, from Butibam, came in mobs with weapons and began attacking us and setting fire to our houses. It was fortunate that no one was killed,” Hal said.

Police discovered a tear gas canister used in the fight.