Noah Mendari, the landlord of a block of land at Lae’s back-road, has been witness to ethnic clashes between the Sepiks and Bougainville Morobeans over the previous week.
He is of Kamkumung and Buin heritage. The land he owns is customary land.
During this meeting with Bougainville’s Disaster Co-ordinator Franklyn Lecey, and other Bougainvilleans, it was revealed that the landlord allows his wantoks to reside on his premises. Many of them are students or workers who cannot afford accommodation in the main centre.
A total of 43 young people from Buin and Siwai were affected. They’ve been put into two groups. Those without work or not at school will be repatriated back home.
One of the dead is to be repatriated to Bougainville while the other, a relative of the landlord, will be buried in Lae.
On the other side, the Sepik people have acknowledged that the problem is not with the Bougainvilleans, but with the landlord.
Some social commentators say that the K90, 000 to be used to repatriate those affected is a waste of public money. Money that could be used for other worthwhile causes.
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