By ELIAS LARI
IT was a Christmas Eve ordeal and nightmare that lasted four years for a 26-year-old woman who was abducted and held captive by an elderly man whom she befriended in 2015.
Then 22, Petra Dakli was lured by her elderly “friend” to the airport where she took a flight to Mendi on Dec 24, 2015.
The “friend” from Mendi’s Was village, had promised to send her back to Popendetta but it was the beginning of four years of physical abuse, rape and loss of freedom.
Western Highlands rural police zones commander Chief Insp David Kongua confirmed Dakli’s escape and report, and said that her captor would be arrested and charged with abduction and rape.
“I will be giving a full report to provincial police commander Chief Insp Jacob Kamiak and to Eastern’s Asst Comm Nema Mondia.
“Mendi police will be arresting the suspect.”
“Dakli’s family members can call airport police (71177994 or 5451122) if they wish to talk to her,” he added.
Dakli, from Oro, said: “I want my family members to know that I am still alive.
“I have been physically abused, raped and not allowed to talk to anyone or move freely for four years.
“I was befriended by the elderly man who regularly bought betel nuts from me.”
Dakli, who is the eldest in a family of seven children, said her family members did not know of her whereabouts.
“The man took me to the airport without my family’s knowledge. Upon arrival at Mendi airport, the man took me to Was Village.
“My parents must have assumed that I was dead because there was no way for me to communicate with them. I lost all my freedom.
“The man was married with four children and is already a grandfather. I was threatened with a bush knife.
“He would always beat me. He would return home, start an argument for no reason and beat me.
“He would threaten me and also force me to perform sexual acts against my will.
“My wish was to escape but I was stuck in a place where I don’t know anyone.
“I grew up with my aunty in Lae. I have never been to any of the highlands provinces.”
Three weeks ago, Dakli asked her captor’s son for K10 after seeing an opportunity to escape.
“I managed to flee when he was not around. I took a PMV bus and found my way to Mendi town. Somehow, I met my captor’s daughter in Mt Hagen and she told me to stay with her so that she can send me back to Mendi,” she said.
“But I fled.
“My only option was to offer my body to make money for my travel to Lae to find my aunty.
“However, I bumped into my captor’s relatives who took me into their home,” she said.
Dakli said she felt unsafe after staying with them for three weeks and sought the help of police in Mt Hagen.
“It is now a police case.”
“My wish is to return to my family as soon as possible,” she said, adding that: “I am now free from the sufferings inflicted by a merciless man who threatened my life for four years”.
By ELIAS LARI