By Vanessa Knight – EM TV News, Port Moresby
25 year old Robert Ivolo passed away on Saturday evening following an assault from a police officer during his school’s cultural show celebrations.
The deceased is from the Goilala District in Central Province, who was a final year apprentice studying Maintenance Fitting and Machining at Don Bosco Technical School.
Eyewitnesses present at the showground told EMTV News that the incident occurred shortly after a fire broke out at one of the traditionally constructed huts on the showground.
The deceased ran into the crowd trying to establish the cause of the chaos when he was struck in the head by a police officer with a bamboo stump.
The officer had been engaged by the school to provide security for the event.
Robert was taken to his residence just opposite the school grounds to recover, but was later taken to Port Moresby General Hospital after suffering a series of fits the next morning and becoming unresponsive.
Despite being admitted and treated at the Intensive Care Unit, Robert passed away at 10pm on Saturday evening.
Robert’s uncle and Councilor for the Ivani 2 Ward said the passing of his nephew is a tragic loss for the family, school and community.
The Don Bosco Technical fraternity has been helpful, showing support and assisting the family with hauskrai arrangements.
However the deceased’s family wants justice to prevail by having the officer allegedly responsible for Robert’s untimely death, face the law.
The incident has been reported to the Criminal Investigative Division, and an investigation is expected to be underway as soon as a coroner’s report is provided by the family.
Robert is survived by his parents, seven siblings and pregnant fiancé, and was the only child to receive a formal education from amongst his seven siblings.
The tragic incident adds to a string of police-related killings which have swept across the nation this year, causing controversy and outrage at the conduct of the country’s disciplinary bodies.
The most recent being the brutal attack of a Kilakila Secondary School student last month by four Defense Force officers, coincidently also during the school’s cultural show.
The student is still in a coma.