Teen shot dead for stealing packet of rice

An 18-year-old boy was shot dead for stealing a packet of rice by security guards even though he raised his hands to surrender.

The deceased, Jeffery Manimban from Rai Coast district, was a staff at the Modilon Guest House.

He was shot for allegedly  stealing a packet of 1kg Roots rice belonging to Modilon Martin Tsang Supermarket (MST) and was chased by guards  and shot on the forehead.

According to Binnen community leader and owner of Modilon Guest House, David Wama, the incident happened on Saturday around 12 pm when the deceased with three other youths allegedly stole a 1kg packet of rice belonging to the MST supermarket outside the warehouse area.

Wama said after taking the rice they ran down to the beach front in Binnen street and were sitting down chewing betelnut and  telling stories with some families.

After an hour a Guard Dog security vehicle arrived looking for them.

The youths jumped into the sea and swam across in an attempt to escape.

He said the three other boys managed to arrive at the shore near Rooks Marine point but the deceased was still in the water 20 meters away from the shore when the Guard Dog officer approached, pointing a gun at him.

Wama said bystanders called for him to swim to shore so he jumped into the water again from the reef he was standing on.

However, the Guard Dog officer (named withheld) without waiting, fired the first shot but missed then the second shot was fired。

The youth fearing his life stood up again on the reef and surrendered by raising his hands.

But the officer fired the third shot, hitting him right near the eyebrow on the head, before he fell back into the water.

He said more than 20 witnesses stood and shouted to the Guard Dog security officer why shoot him when he already surrendered 。

“The boys on the other side of the lagoon paddled their canoe in an attempt to save him 10 minutes after seeing the body sink.”

“They even called a passing passenger dinghy from the nearby Bilia Island to save the boy but the Guard Dog Security officers swore at them and threatened to shoot them also if they tried to save the deceased,” Wama said.

The deceased uncle who is the Head Master of a primary school in Rai Coast District and community leader Edwin Baffe said death is not accepted and the Guard dog officer who pulled the trigger must be arrested and charged.

Baffe said his nephew has a long future ahead of him and such deaths in the hands of security officers is not justified.

“I want the full force of law to face the person pull the trigger, at the same time called on the government to disarm security officers because the killing is unjustified."

“We respect the Police to do their work but this will not stop us from pursuing the matter in court.

"We demand MST and Guard Dog Security meet the funeral expenses of my nephew to be taken to Rai Coast for burial,” he said.

Baffe and Wama said they gave the Police an ultimatum to arrest the officer before Wednesday.

Wama also commended the good work Guard Dog security officers have done to help Police provide services to those travelling to hospital and other business houses.

He said what happened was done by one officer who is not part of the Madang team。

He was recently deployed from Lae and has tarnished the name of good officers who have done a lot for Madang.

Wama said they will petition the Madang Provincial government on the rise of killings in Madang and conduct of security firms and officers, at the same time will work with Police to see the matter settle in court.

Attempts to get a comment from Madang Provincial Police Commander was unsuccessful but the relatives of the deceased said CID police officer are conducting investigations。

Meantime Madang is experiencing a rise in deaths the past two weeks.

Last week a PMV Crew from Hagen was stabbed to death.

On Sunday a youth in Finch road Madang town was found dead in a nearby banana plantation with the head smashed.

On the same day a PMV bus capsized and the off sider reportedly died instantly.

Reuben Tabel