Hela Governor, Phillip Undialu, today appealed to the members of the community near the Tokio Bridge outside Tari town to hand over two weapons they seized from police during an ambush last week. It was during this attack that a policeman was shot dead.
He has also called for the community to hand over the suspect. His call comes as police manpower increased in the province.
Since the killing of sergeant David Ale five days ago, police presence has been increased in Hela provincial capital, Tari.
Mobile squad members have been brought in from Mt. Hagen and Port Moresby to contain any possible trouble.
Today, members of the security forces met with the provincial administration and Hela Governor, Phillip Undialu, who was to have met with members of the community responsible for the killing has since called for the return of firearms and for the suspect to be handed over to police.
His call comes after an impromptu visit by the Prime Minister, James Marape, to the haus krai of the family of Sargent Ale last night. The Prime Minister reaffirmed his stand against the ongoing violence in the province.
“People who kill in gun violence should face life year imprisonment; they should stay in prison and not come out. I want those who commit murder to face death penalty, that is the law. It is not a law James Marape has established, it is already set…there’s a death penalty for murder, but we are not following that law, if you kill someone, you should pay the price.” Marape stated.
Local politicians like Marape and Undialu have a tense, delicate situation to manage. While the option of having expensive security operations remain, they’ve opted to take the long route of negotiating for the community to hand over trouble makers and weapons.
In July, more than 20 men women and children were killed in a tribal fight related violence. Weeks of negotiations resulted in the surrender of a key figure involved in previous tribal fight related killings.
As a leader hailing from Hela Province itself, Marape stated that it burdened him to see a lot of widows suffering, whose husbands have killed.
“Anyone in possession of guns, and cause trouble in the villages will receive a maximum of 30 year imprisonment.” the Prime Minister warned.
There have been no arrests yet since the killing of the police sergeant.