Victims tell of razed homes

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday 11th June 2013

 THE victims of the 8-Mile incident which left one man dead and 74 injured by police officers have come out to give their side of the story.

The victims told The National that the 74 men injured by policemen were part of a large group of men who had gone to burn down nine houses at 8-Mile on May 25 and 26.

“On Saturday May 25, upon hearing the killing of one of their relatives, the 74 men from 6-Mile went to 8-Mile and teamed up with some there (before proceeding) to burn down seven houses belonging to the Sepiks whom they claimed were involved in the killing of their relative,” one of the victims said.

“We want to make it clear that there was no reconciliation ceremony on Sunday at 8-Mile. They had gone there to show their frustration and demand compensation.”

The victims said police had instructed them on Saturday to immediately cease what they were doing and a mediation hearing would be conducted at Gordon Police Station the next day, Sunday, to resolve the issue.

“The assurance was given by the Gordon police station commander,” the victims’ spokesman said.

“But then they disobeyed police orders and then returned on Sunday morning with high-powered weapons, knives, axes and bow and arrows and chased everyone away, then eventually burnt down the two houses remaining. 

“It is not two houses as stated in the media but nine high covenant houses with cash, goods and valuables.

“Some of us were innocent but were caught up in the incident because they had generalised that all involved in the killing were from Sepik.

“The suspect involved in the murder was already apprehended by the community and handed over to police on Saturday and they should have just let the law take its course.”

Meanwhile, NCD/Central police commander Jim Andrews confirmed that separate investigations were being conducted to verify the allegations.

“Firstly is the investigation into the killing of the Morobean youth on May 25. The main suspect is now in police custody.

“The second investigation is into the burning of the houses at 8-Mile on May 25 and 26.”