Settlers’ houses torched following local’s death

A number of settlers’ houses at Banana Block in Lae, Morobe Province, have been torched today by frustrated villagers.

Youths from Butibam village have set more than 5 houses at Bumbu alight following the death of their wantok, allegedly at the hands of settlers.

According to reports on ground, the young man from Butibam had just returned from a night out and accompanied by his friend, were waiting for a shop at 8th Street to open so they could get something to eat. This was around 6-7am on Saturday, September 8th.

During that time, a group of girls, also from the same village, walked past and were allegedly harassed by men from the nearby settlement, which saw the deceased and his friend jump to the girls’ aid.

The instigator then ran into the settlement and returned with a group of men, who allegedly started beating the two locals.

One of the youths managed to escape while his friend, unfortunately, was pummeled to the ground.

Police arrived on scene and took the youth to the hospital where he, regrettably, succumbed to his injuries at around 3pm that day.

In retaliation, a group of angry villagers went into Banana Block this afternoon (September 9th) and clashed with the settlers while several houses were set alight despite police intervention.

Stones and arrows were used in the clash where several minor injuries were reported from both ends.

Situation is currently tense as men from Markham compound, who have joined forces with Butibam, are guarding their side of the river.

Villagers are wary of another retaliatory attack from Banana Block settlers.

More to follow…

(Butibam Village entrance – Filepic)

Carmella Gware