Frustrations reach boiling point, students clash with villagers

The Kabaleo Teachers College in East New Britain Province was on shutdown yesterday as frustrated students clashed with neighbouring villagers.

ENB provincial police commander, Joseph Tabali, said the crux of the issue was similar to that of Gelegele; constant harassment and attack of students and staff by locals in surrounding villages.

“Those nearby villagers have been attacking students and robbing them when they catch bus from Kokopo to the campus,” PPC Tabali told Loop PNG.

He further pointed out a number of cases that had eventually led to the clash on Sunday, May 27th.

“An incident occurred on Saturday, 12th of May, when a male student was attacked and beaten up by a group of men at the Kalabond field, at Takubar.

“On Sunday, 13th of May, another male student was attacked and cut with a bush knife along the Kabaleo-Kokopo road.”

Prior to those two cases, PPC Tabali said a staff was held up at his home by four armed men on April 12, between 7.30 and 8.30pm.

“This has been ongoing and the students and staff have said ‘enough is enough’ so they started attacking the neighbouring villages,” Tabali stated.

However, as of yesterday afternoon (May 28), a consensus was reached between both parties in the presence of police.

A mediation is set to take place on June 2nd at the college campus.

PPC Tabali pointed out that police manpower was stretched thin during the weekend as they had to deal with the Gelegele fight as well, which started on Saturday and ended yesterday.

Carmella Gware