By Stanley Ove Jnr – EMTV News, Port Moresby
A petition was presented to Deputy Prime Minister, Charles Abel, yesterday (December 11), demanding for immediate compensation of destroyed properties and the recall of the Police Mobile Squad Unit currently based in Alotau.
This follows a police chase into the Kitava Compound last Thursday that ended with a woman shot and killed and over 11 homes and properties destroyed.
A bed of ash and blazed iron sheets are all that is left after a night of horror for the Kitava Compound residents last Thursday. Here, 11 homes were torched by the police, to flush out a criminal gang that was said to have been hiding in the compound.
“When they came they first were asking amongst themselves for a lighter, gas lighter.. They called out my son, they forced him to empty his bag, and inside his basket, gas lighter..so they got his gas lighter, started the gas lighter, with that house, my son’s house and that’s the beginning of (how) the fire started..” Ernest Bonnell, a Kitava resident said.
It began after a police pursuit of a stolen vehicle that drove into Kitava compound. The police followed but were met with heavy gunfire from the criminals who fled to higher grounds behind the community. As shots were exchanged, an elderly woman was killed and another shot in the stomach.
Since Thursday, the situation has come under control but the residents are still in fear of more police raids as the criminals believed to be linked to prison escapee Tommy Baker are still at large.
Meanwhile, a petition was presented to De[uty PM and Alotau MP, Charles Abel.
In the petition, the Kitava residents have demanded immediate action to compensate the victims and the recall of the mobile squad unit.
“My fear is that in all this, we lose track of the underlying issue is that these things all come from the fact that there are criminal elements heavily armed in our society and if it wasn’t for those, there would be no need for the police to be here in the first place.. ” the Alotau MP said, ” The problem builds on its self. So it’s a multifaceted solution to this but including holding the police accountable for the actions as well.”