Villager: Cops destroyed our mourning camp

National, Normal

The National,Tuesday17 January 2012

FRUSTRATED leaders of Buluma village, West New Britain, yesterday gathered at the local police station demanding to know why a group of officers went into their village and destroyed a haus krai.
Reports from the village said the locals were mourning the death of a clansman when police officers, in pursuit of drunken youths, assaulted them and removed the haus krai at around 5pm on Sunday.  
The leaders told rural police commander Insp Steven Bunga they were unhappy with the behaviour of the officers.
They said the police did not show respect for the dead and their local mourning culture.
Provincial police commander Samson Siguyaru confirmed the incident and assured the villagers that those involved would be investigated and dealt with because the allegation was serious.
Siguyaru said an off-duty police constable was attending a soccer match in the area and noticed five youths drinking matuka (homebrew) and tried to disperse them.
However, he said the youths, allegedly from Buluma village, turned on the lone constable.
He said the injured officer got reinforcements and chased the youths who fled to the village.
Siguyaru said the youths went into hiding when they reached the village but the villagers did not cooperate with police by identifying them.
He said that had angered the policemen who swore at the people and removed their haus krai.