Top cop’s plea: End killings now

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By MIRIAM ZARRIGA
A SENIOR police officer, fed up with killings related to sorcery accusations, is urging the Government to seriously address the issue, after a teacher and nine others died in the past four months.
Eastern Highlands police commander Chief Superintendent Michael Welly said the deaths were sparked by the death of the teacher in September who was allegedly killed through sorcery.
“I am calling on the Government to address sorcery,” Welly said.
“It is becoming a norm now that whenever a death occurs, even if it is due to natural causes, it is (blamed on) sorcery. It has to stop.
“Innocent people are being accused and classed as sorcerers then killed.
“Something has to be done by authorities to stop this unlawful killings (blamed on) sorcery.”
The teacher was from Akai in Kainantu, Eastern Highlands.
His relatives in retaliation killed two men from Kamano in September and threw their bodies into a river.
Welly told The National that police had not completed their investigations into the matter when last week, the body of the teacher’s brother was found in a drain near the Yonki market.
His relatives on Sunday attacked the Kamano people resulting in homes being torched and people injured.
“Police from Kainantu, Yonki and members of the Mobile Squad managed to calm the situation,” he said.
“One person was feared drowned, several wounded, and houses torched. But on Monday, the area was quiet.”
Then on Tuesday, violence erupted again when the Kamano people retaliated.
“Armed with guns, they blocked the road into the area,” he said.
“Even police were unable to get into the area to stop the fighting.”
He said people fled the area and made their way to Kainantu.
“Then in Kainantu, another fight erupted between those fleeing from the fighting in Yonki,” he said.
He said the total death toll up to Tuesday was 10, including the teacher and his brother from Akai.
Kainantu MP Johnson Tuke was yesterday concerned about the lives being lost to fighting.
He left Port Moresby for Kainantu yesterday to address the people.
Members of the Mobile Squad and police from Yonki and Kainantu are still monitoring the situation in the area, Welly said.

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