Youths run amok, close town

Main Stories, National

The National, Monday December 16th, 2013

 YOUTHS went on the rampage in Wewak town last Friday, looting shops and damaging property.

Police withdrew their services following a stand-off with Defence Force soldiers and the subsequent attack on two police officers outside the Wewak police station by thugs last Thursday.

Confusion and fear gripped the town as youths tried to force their way into shops and damaged public property.

The Wewak Christian Bookshop was looted and items including the Bible were stolen. Musical instruments, mobile phones, electronic de­vices and stationery were removed as well.

A number of Asian-owned shops reported that valuables were stolen.

Shops closed immediately. 

Guard Dog security officers bee­fed up manpower at Tang Mow stores, the Papindo supermarket and the three commercial banks in town.

The police station in the heart of Wewak was closed. There was no police officer or  police vehicle on the streets when the youths ran riot.

Police arrived after midday in a convoy of vehicles with Maprik MP John Simon, who called on all youths to go home.

Wewak town mayor Charles Malenki, Wewak Island local level government president Pius Bugatar and Wewak rural LLG president Francis Hevu joined Simon in calming the situation.

The shops remained closed throughout the weekend except Tang Mow Supermarket, which opened for about two hours on Saturday under tight security.

Hundreds of shoppers waited outside from 7am. 

Tables for women involved in informal business activities between the police station and the main market area were burnt by police.

The trouble in Wewak stemmed from an incident in which a soldier was manhandled and locked up by police last Wednesday afternoon.

Soldiers arrived at the police station on Thursday morning to discuss the matter.