by Rachel Shisei – EM TV News, Madang
Two pastors, Pr Wilson Banjan and Pr Lako Panda, are now in police custody, charged with unlawful assembly, riot and looting with no bail, following the riot and looting in Madang town Asian shops today.
Provincial Police Commander, Sylvestor Kalaut, said they will not be allowed bail until all investigations are completed, and that charges laid on them stem from their protest, which had not been authorised. The protest is believed to have instigated what happened today in Madang town.
The protest that took place at the Bates Oval in the town area before the riot and looting, was themed ‘Capitalism versus Colonialism’ with followers coming from as far as the Highlands region.
All Asian shops and a fuel service station were looted, causing the town area to be in a state of havoc for almost an hour, with an overwhelming wave of confusion.
Among those in a state of panic were women and children seen to be screaming and running accross town.
Shop owners and their security guards, while trying to contain the crowd, lost most of their items in the process.
Police who were evidently outnumbered, fired several shots before physically dispersing the opportunists, as well as maintaining bystanders around the town area.
There is no confirmation of casualties at this stage, but PPC Kalaut said a student from Kusbau Primary died from bullet wounds, and 4 others are sustaining knife and bullet wounds.
PPC Kalaut also mentioned that gun shots were also coming from the rioters, who were among the public, within the time of the riot and looting.
The atmosphere within the community is still tense, while some believe that an event may occur again. PPC Kalaut has instructed his police officers to be stationed around the town area.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the town is closed and may not open until the situation returns to normal.