Millions Lost To Arson

Jenny Wato and husband Peter are in mourning after their multi-million kina property was razed in the carnage that followed the shooting of two men on Saturday October 23.

They say this could have been avoided had the police arrived on time to control the situation.

The family, from Enga Province lost a trade store and their home in retaliation for deaths they were not connected to.

Jenny was one of the first residents of Garden Hills, having moved to the area 39 years ago. She and Peter raised their children there, building their property worth over K3 million.

Jenny said on the night of Saturday 23rd of October, she and her family concluded their daily business and retreated into their homes, oblivious to what was happening outside. 

“We closed our business at 8pm and my children and I went indoors. We heard a lot of noise coming from the fight that was happening further down the street but paid no mind to it. Police and settlement residents were fighting, but I did not know what exactly was going on. I was taken by surprise when my property was set alight.”

Jenny said she is confused how she will continue after losing so much. Jenny has called on the authorities to remove the settlement, saying was the only way that she could find peace.

“We have a bank loan, our property generated an income of K12-13,000 a month that is now lost. I am confused. How can a settlement raze a multi-million kina property to the ground,” said Jenny, her voice cracking from grief.

Peter said their property could have been saved if the police was present to control the situation.

“The incident happened in the suburbs, not outside the city limits at 8 or 9 Mile. The police came and stayed outside the blockade and let my property burn down.”

Peter said he and his family are still mourning for their loss.

“We could not salvage anything. I am standing in everything I own. This is now a hauskrai. I am from Wabag, the police officer is from Madang and those from the settlement are from Goroka. I am innocent.”

Loop Author