Community leaders in Tavui Number One in East New Britain province are demanding an explanation from the Kokopo police into the shooting of a 28-year-old man on New Year’s Eve.
It has been nearly three weeks since Lucas Kavanamur was shot by police a few metres away from his house at Tavui number one in Bitapaka on the outskirts of Kokopo town.
Late Lucas was gunned down in a police raid when he was amidst a New Year celebration with his friends in the village.
His relatives have been waiting for answers from the Kokopo police boss to why he was shot.
“We are asking the Internal Investigation Unit and the provincial police commander to send a team and investigate the killing,” said Peter Kendino, the village spokesman.
On New Year’s Eve, a Kokopo based task force team was responding to a tip-off regarding a group of escapees residing in the area.
Eyewitnesses say the policemen staged an ambush to apprehend the suspects but ended up firing live bullets at men, women and children in the village.
Relatives of late Lucas say he was apparently not on the police wanted list.
“There was no warning shot fired. They were firing at the guy running up. There were policemen everywhere and they were firing,” Mr Kendino said.
On Saturday over the weekend, his relatives gathered to plan their next course of action against the police.
Family members of the deceased say they will pursue a legal battle against the Kokopo police, for allegedly shooting an innocent man, and also threatening the entire village.
“We are not happy with what the police did. They didn’t carry out their operation properly,” Mr Kendino said.
Meanwhile, East New Britain provincial police commander, Snr. Inspector Joseph Tabali, has confirmed the shooting but said the deceased was wanted for a series of crimes in the area. And was also an accomplice of the escapees.
“The deceased was among a group of suspects when he met his fate. It was an unfortunate situation,” PPC Tabali said.
The relatives, however, maintained that the deceased was innocent and are filing court documents to challenge the police in court.