The National – Wednesday, June 22, 2011
By ZACHERY PER
ARMED tribesmen cut off the legs of a man during a gun battle which started after an alleged robbery, police said.
The fight between groups belonging to Patrick Sira and local businessman Gabriel Igaso shocked residents of Kainantu town, Eastern Highlands, on Monday.
The armed tribesmen from Igaso’s group retaliated after Sira’s gang members robbed one of Igaso’s shops.
They caught one man and chopped his legs off. The man was rushed to the Goroka Base Hospital by Kainantu police on Monday night where he is recovering.
Eastern Highlands provincial police commander Augustine Wampe said Sira and his gang entered the town at 5.30pm on Monday and robbed one of Igaso’s shops of K2,000.
When Igaso pursued Sira and his men, they opened fire with semi-automatic weapons.
Igaso left the scene in his vehicle to return with his tribesmen minutes later.
Wampe said the two factions started the gun battle near the Kainantu market, sending people running for cover.
“Everybody took cover, the town came to a stand-still for 30 minutes,” Wampe said.
He said policemen in Kainantu had been deployed to the Kumian site of Bilimoya Gold mine to attend to a compensation demand by locals.
“Sira and his men, knowing the lack of police presence in Kainantu, struck,” he said.
Wampe said the 14-year-old son of Igaso suffered a deep pellet wound believed to have penetrated one of his kidneys.
He said two other relatives suffered serious gun wounds and were rushed to the Goroka Base General Hospital.
“I appeal to the public in Kainantu and Aiyura to assist police apprehend Sira and his gang members.”
Police deployed in Kumian were recalled and are taking control of the situation in Kainantu.