After gun surrender and peace ceremony, Hela warlords still live.
by DAVID LEPI
Since Tari/Pori MP James Marape took over the nation's leadership, Papua New Guinea has experienced unprecedented and widespread violence, damage to life and property and death. On the broader scale violence and lawlessness is sporadically sweeping across the country and on the lesser the perpetrators happen to come from a particular ethnicity.
In 2019 ABC News reported at least 16 people, mostly women and children, were killed in the village of Karida in Hela Province from an outbreak of an old tribal conflict. Police announced a final death toll of 18 people, which included the unborn babies of two of the women who were believed to have been pregnant.
In that same year in October a police patrol was ambushed on the Tokoyo bridge near Tokia/Kuparo village in Hela and policeman Sergeant David Hale was shot and died instantly and Constable James Kobol sustained seriouse injuries who later recovered but is believed to suffer severe post traumatic disorder.
Lape Mole from Tari’s Karai Village in Hela, was arrested in November 2019 in connection to the killing of Sgt Hale and wounding Const Kopol and held in custody at the Mt Hagen police station. Mysteriously Mole was found dead in his cell the next day. To this day nobody knew how Mole died and nobody cared to investigate the cause of his death and inform his family and kinsmen back home who helped the police and the authorities apprehend him. Many believed he was summarily executed out of retributive justice without a fair trial - a right entitled to everyone.
Following on from these episodes Hela saw a build-up of high powered weapons proliferating among tribes and groups led by warlords and a spate of violence in payback killings and tribal warfare took a terrifying grip of the province.
In August 08th 2021 Prime Minister Marape led the leaders of Hela together with the commanders of the disciplined forces to Tari in an event that marked arms surrender by the warring warlords, amnesty and peace.
An eager crowd turned up and as many as a multitude and some traveled from the neighboring provinces to witness what would become a historic event. In his address Marape blamed lawlessness was the lack of police presence in the province, with only about 60 policemen servicing the whole province on an ongoing basis.
Typical Marape he blamed the past governments on the lack of law and order in his province. He then announced that his government had approved a new army battalion and 500 police personnel to be stationed long-term in Hela to see the peace process through.
However, reports on the 2022 National Election came with a different story. Arms build up again and criminal activities proliferated during the campaign and a particular crime alleged to involved members of the Marape house.
To date peace in Hela is still elusive. The recent killing of Senior Constable Nelson Kalimda, a Port Moresby based policeman, in Tari sends the pointer for peace and good order spinning backward.
Whilst investigations into the gruesome death of the policeman is currently underway, the information leaked to the public shows how heinous and diabolic the act was and the vicious attempts to cover up and kill the story. Again names of family members and associates of prominent Papua New Guineans keep coming up in the social media in relation to the murder of late Senior Constable Kalimda.
PM Marape, it is time to turn in and manage the country and not politics.