By ZACHERY PER
ANGRY villagers have set up an illegal roadblock at the Ifiufa section of the Highlands Highway after a 22-year-old man died after being hit by a PMV bus last Saturday.
Pathford Hossie was standing on the roadside when the bus hit him.
The bus was part of a convoy of PMVs passing through Ifiufa in the early hours.
Angry relatives and villagers took to the road immediately after the accident to hold up PMV buses from Western Highlands.
They stopped and smashed buses which passed by after the accident.
One 15-seater bus they stopped was from Wabag, Enga. Driver Ipul Mon and his crew were released along with the driver of a dyna truck, Jacob Andrew, of Southern Highlands.
Ifiufa village councillor Henrisk Humizo said the drivers and crew could return home but the buses and truck would be held until the identity of the bus driver who killed their young tribesman was established.
“We will release the vehicles upon the identification of the bus that killed our boy,” he said.
Mr Humizo said, to date, the early morning convoy of PMVs had killed five people in the area.
Previously, there have been no attempts to identify the owners of the buses to claim compensation.
“We lost four lives and this is the fifth. We will not let this go, we will keep the truck and buses even though they may be from Southern Highlands or Enga.
“The owners and drivers must go to Mt Hagen and trace the bus and its driver that killed our boy. Only then we will release the vehhicles,” he said.
Mr Humizo called for a fast solution to the problem because the Highlands Highway was the economic lifeline of the country, adding it should be free from any problems.
He called on the Eastern Highlands and Western Highlands police to negotiate and identify the bus driver involved to compensate for the loss of a life.
Eastern Highlands provincial police commander Chief Supt Augustine Wampe has deployed policemen to monitor the situation at Ifiufa to ensure motorists and commuters are not unnecessarily harassed.
He will negotiate with his counterpart in Western Highlands to resolve the situation.
PMV buses owned by Western Highlanders bound for the Highlands are now stranded in Goroka, Kainantu, Madang and Lae while those with plans to travel to Goroka, Lae and Madang have cancelled their trips.