The National – Wednesday, February 9, 2011
By GABRIEL FITO
THE recent killing of a young man from Bapandu village in West Yangoru, East Sepik, by suspects from the neighbouring Wanigu village and the burning down of 17 houses in retaliation, may conclude a long tribal feud between the two villages if a proposed peace agreement comes to fruition.
Provincial police commander Snr Insp Charles Parinjo, who met with the rival villagers last week, said the gathering was unique and had set standard for the rest of the country because the village which lost one of its own would pay for the loss of life instead of pressing for compensation from the village which caused the death.
Parinjo said the Bapandu had forgiven the Wanigu for the death of one of their tribesmen and, in front of police, said they would pay compensation to the relatives of the young man.
The Wanigu also offered to assist with the compensation payment but were warmly assured by the Bapandus that they would handle the payment themselves in order to enhance lasting friendship and cooperation between the two villages.
Parinjo praised the two villages for the unique steps taken to end the recent conflict and the tribal feud which had gone on for many years.
The amount demanded by relatives of the deceased was not revealed and would be discussed in their next meeting later this month.
The recent trouble between the two villages stemmed from a soccer match which turned nasty when villagers from Wanigu stormed the field and attacked a young man from Bapandu.
He was rushed to Wewak General Hospital for treatment but died the next day.
Meanwhile, both villages had agreed to hand over all suspects involved in the death of the young man and burning down of houses.
They said while the suspects were being dealt with by the law, the two villages would solve the conflict in the Melanesian way to ensure lasting peace.