Papua New Guinea
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Police calm Korak unrest

Police have yet again restored normalcy and peace along the Bogia Highway, from an unrest at Korak village.

The unrest occurred due to the killing of 26-year-old Reinheart Masule Yakamaw, a youth from the Korak village community, on Friday 21st July. It is stated that during the time Reinheart was shot, the community at Korak were at a nearby village attending a hauskrai of a former Bogia member.

After being shot by police officers, a family spokesperson stated that Reinheart’s body was taken to Malala Health Center, where the orderly there refused to attend to the body, resulting in them going to Bogia Health Center, where they got the ambulance to transport the body to Modilon General Hospital.

It was only through a picture taken by a guard, who knew the victim, at the hospital and sent to family members back at Korak via WhatsApp, that it was known of his death and where his body was. This angered and frustrated his family members, the community and his peers.

Despite the police officers’ actions, instead of going by the rule of law, they took matters into their own hands, resulting in police intervention.

The lawlessness events that occurred in Korak village after the shooting included;

  • Youths seizing the ambulance after its return from Modilon General Hospital
  • Rural Command was on site after the shooting to maintain order and make an agreement with youths to avoid taking matters into their own hands, however, pact made between youths and police was breached by the youth
  • Youths attacked Police Station Commander Dickson Koliadi and also damaged the stations Ford Raptor with machetes, sticks and stones, and also seizing the vehicle as well
  • Youths attempted to collapse the bridge by digging away soil from the bridges end
  • Youths set up roadblock on Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday all day, and Monday in the morning. This had instilled fear amongst highway travelers and commuters
  • Youths collecting K50-K100 from each vehicle passing by

This string of events impelled the police to carry out a raid on the village in the early hours of Monday morning, 24th July. Youths implicated in damaging and withholding the police stations Ford Raptor, attempting to dislodge the bridge and setting up the roadblock were rounded up by the police officers.

In total, 34 suspects were held, after profiling, advising and releasing two juveniles, and transported to Bogia Police station where they were also profiled before transporting them to Madang’s Jomba Police Station.

Local community leaders said it was an unfortunate incident on the youth’s part, as it was due to unsatisfactory responses from a police petition brought to the police and Bogia MP, Robert Naguri, which caused a buildup of frustrations from the deceased grieving peers.

On the other hand, Rural Command and PSC Bogia commended Police from Kerowagi, NMG Lae and Madang police for a successful joint operation in restoring normalcy to the majority of the highway commuters.

Stating that the youths should have taken the “Rule of Law” as an option to avoid facing the “Hand of the Law”.