Villagers upgrade road for police presence during burial


RELATIVES of three people from Mulupi village killed among the 19 slaughtered in the recent tribal fighting in Tari-Pori, Hela, are upgrading their feeder road so police can travel to their village during the burial ceremony, a village court land mediator says.
Ipuku Akoma said work on upgrading the feeder road from Hoiebia to Mulipi village in the Tebi local level government area was underway when fighting erupted, forcing work to stop.
“We want the three bodies to be taken home for burial and that will eventuate with the presence of police so the villagers have taken the initiative to improve the feeder road,” Akoma said.
“The Mobile Squad 9 (MS9) has been providing security to us while we are at work and that security will continue during the burial.
“They are also providing security to other refugees.”
He said people from Mulipi were innocent but had lost three members. They announced publicly to leaders and the people of Hela that they would not retaliate. Akoma said law and order issues could be addressed if feeder roads in the rural areas were improved.
“When we have improved roads, it will make police work easier to attend to tribal conflicts,” he said.
“The deteriorating roads is one factor that is encouraging lawlessness, making it difficult for police to come to our aid quickly.”
Hoiebia Primary School teacher Wilson Hape, who is helping relatives, said more than 14 policemen from the Mobile Squad 9 arrived to bring some hope of normalcy in the area.
Const Joseph James said the MS9 unit had only one vehicle and they faced problems.