By SYLVESTER WEMURU
TWO cop killers were assassinated by their rival tribesmen during a gambling session that went awry in Tari on Tuesday afternoon.
Both were armed with guns when one was shot dead and another slashed to death.
The duo, both brothers, had been on the run for about two years after killing a policeman. They were also wanted for a string of murders in Huli, Tikibi, Ambuna, Wabia and Tari.
Police have identified the cop killers as Anthony Paia and James who were described as warlords.
Hela acting commander Sr Insp John Iara said Anthony was shot dead on the spot and James was slashed on the neck which was almost severed.
“Both were armed and we have recovered their factory-made guns,” he added.
Sr Insp Iara said both cop killers had just returned from fights in Porgera and had their factory-made firearms in their possession.
“In the midst of a card game, Anthony was shot dead about 30m away by a man armed with an M16.
James heard the gunshot and tried to pull out his gun in retaliation but a tribesman standing next to him, pretending to be watching the card game, slashed him in the neck,” he said, adding that police were still investigating the cause of the killings.
“Security forces went to the scene and removed the bodies of the duo to Tari Hospital Mortuary,” Sr Insp Iara said.
“The situation after the killing is quiet with no signs of retaliation. We are monitoring the area.
“I am appealing to other tribe leaders out there to lay down their arms and surrender to the police.
He said firearms had always been a threat to the community and that peace can only be restored when firearms are surrendered,” he added.
In another incident Kopija clan clash, Sr Insp Iara said four men, aged between 20 and 60, were killed on Sunday and in the early hours of Monday.
He said the killings occurred in Koropo’s Pureni in Hela.
“We believe the violence were payback killings.
“We moved in, stopped the fight and conducted awareness to stop the clashes.
“The fighting is not new and it had been happening over the years within the Kopija clan.”