The wife of an innocent man allegedly shot dead by police in East New Britain province has called for a formal investigation into the killing of her husband. Joanne August said her husband has no criminal record, but suffered a brutal death. Joanne’s husband, Lucas Kavanamur was gunned down by police during a manhunt at Tavui number one outside Kokopo town about three weeks ago.
“ Lucas has left me with four kids. Its hard to survive without a husband. I am not happy with what the police officers did. They must do something about them,” Joannne said.
The death of Lucas has brought curiosity not only to his wife, but the entire Tavui community. A local community leader, Peter Kendino says, “ This isn’t the first time the police officers have done such immoral act to one of our own. We just want it to stop”.
Three weeks ago, late Lucas was shot during a manhunt conducted by a Kokopo based taskforce team. The police were responding to a tip-off regarding a group of escapees residing in the area. Lucas, who was with a group of men, which the police believed had at least two escapees amongst them were ambushed, about a kilometre from his house. The police confronted the group but fired at them when they ran for cover. The others were safe. But Lucas wasn’t.
“ There is a better way to solve a problem. Shooting at them and killing them is not an option”, said Peter Mikai, the village Catechist.
Since his death, community leaders at Tavui village have been pushing for an investigation into his killing. Most of the eyewitnesses claimed the approach of the police officers was not right.
“ The officers came out of their hiding and began firing openly at the group. They were scared so they ran away to hide”, said Mr. Kendino.
Lucas death comes amidst a recent wave of police brutality that claimed lives of innocent civilians all over the country.
East New Britain provincial police commander, Senior Inspector Joseph Tabali has brushed of this allegations stating Lucas has had previous criminal records.
“ There was a home-made gun found next to Lucas when he was shot. He also has past records of burglary and theft in the area”, said Senior Inspector Tabali.
But the village elders and his immediate family members have stated otherwise.
“ He has a good repute in the community. He hasn’t done anything bad. He was innocent when he was killed”, said Mr. Mikai.
The relatives say they will file a case against the police and will take it to court to prove that late Lucas was truly innocent.