Student killed, houses razed

Highlands, Normal

The National, Wednesday 10th April, 2013


FIFTEEN houses were burnt by members of a clan in revenge for the death of a university student in Mt Hagen, Western Highlands, and the injuring of another.

Ken Francis Manuel, 23, a first year student at the University of Papua New Guinea died and Nathan Komati, a Grade 12 student, was badly injured after they were run over by a bus in Mt Hagen on March 30. Both belonged to the Kukuluka Nemb clan in the Hagen electorate, Western Highlands.

Komiti is in the Mt Hagen provincial hospital.

Members of the clan later found out that the bus was driven by someone from the Elti clan. They then attacked the homes of members of that clan.

Manuel and Komati were at Balg on Saturday around 7pm when the 25-seater PMV bus ran over them.

Their relatives alleged that the bus driver was using the wrong lane.

On Sunday, the relatives attacked the people of Pinambi and burnt down their homes, killed pigs and cassowaries and destroyed trade stores.

The leaders from the Nemb clan, including Kumbati Renta, Petro Renta, Francis Abraham, Komati Runa, Gapino Ike, Apsol Ulgng and Kaikul Francis, managed to calm them down later and stopped any further attack.

They urged their clansmen to do away with their weapons and allow the law to take its course.

Kaikul Francis, Manuel’s father, said the boys were on the right side of the road and the driver was on the wrong lane.

“The relatives opted to take the law into their own hands and destroyed properties and homes.

“We the leaders urged them not take the law into their own hands but to handle the issue in a peaceful way,” he said.

Provincial police commander Supt Martin Lakari said the fight could have got out of hand.

Lakari said he had talked to the Nemb clan leaders to lay down their weapons and let police investigate.

He said the driver and the chief crew were arrested and locked at the Mt Hagen police cell.