This Wednesday, Northern Province grieved while paying tribute to the caskets of the 13 people killed in a fatal road accident along the Kokoda Highway.
The accident occurred on January 2nd when an oil palm fruit truck, traveling towards the Higaturu Oil Palm Company mill, collided with an oncoming PMV at Pekuma Base in the Ijivitari District.
Following the tragic road accident, a provincial haus cry was organized at the Higaturu Council Chambers in Popondetta Town. Family members and relatives of the deceased gathered to mourn the unfortunate loss of their loved ones.
According to reports from the Popondetta General Hospital, 13 people were confirmed death on arrival with 12 casualties from the Sohe District, and 1 from Tufi District who was the District Treasurer.
The Hopsital’s CEO,Dr. Gunzii Gawin, confirmed that there were 16 survivors. Six were discharged from the wards, while 10 of those that sustained injuries are still recovering in the hospital.
Among the survivors were Justice Worepa from Ivindari village, and Palimon Kimana.
On Wednesday, the entire province was mourning, and grieving with the relatives of those who died. A public holiday was declared, and business houses were closed as the people gathered to witness the funeral ceremony.
The caskets were transported right around Popondetta town to Higaturu Council Chambers, where the haus cry was located.
The 12 caskets transported to Timbeki village except for that of Philipa Jim who was from Huhuru village in the Bokoro area. Her casket was officially farewelled by local MPs Delilah Gore and David Arore.
A funeral service was held at the Ressurection Anglican Cathedral for the caskets’ final blessings.
The 80-vehicle convoy had to stop at the crash site for a few minutes, as a traditional Oro ritual to call for the spirits of thise who died to go with them to their burial sites.
Villagers stood along the road side and welcomed the convoy in a traditional Oro way.
The convoy then stopped at a junction, and farewelled the casket of Philipa Jim who is the only female from Huhuru village. The convoy then proceeded with transporting the 12 caskets to Timbeki village where the caskets will be laid to rest.
Popondetta Police Traffic OIC, Lawrence Poapona, said there were no police reports released about the incident as police investigations are still continuing.
A petition was delivered to the management of Higaturu Oil Palm Company with a K50-million demand to compensate the lives lost, and injured passengers.