Trial on Walia checkpoint killing commences

A Criminal trial is underway at the Waigani National Court for the man alleged to be the principal offender in the killing of three others at the Walia checkpoint between the Enga and Western Highlands provinces.

The case against Michael Apereo was transferred to Waigani from Mt Hagen. It commenced today before Justice Panuel Mogish.

Two witnesses were called by the State after the charges or indictment against Apereo was presented in court.

From Walia village in the Enga Province, Apereo is facing three counts of wilful murder.

He is standing trial over allegations that on Oct 30, 2012 at Walia Checkpoint between Enga and Western Highlands provinces, he being the principal offender wilfully murdered three men who were employed as security guards and from an enemy tribe at the check point.

The Walia check point was set up to check vehicles and passengers travelling between the two provinces for items like illegal alcohol and firearms.

State alleges that the attack was planned by Apereo following a disagreement between the tribes over the security contract.

Armed with factory made pistols and bush knives, Apereo allegedly led a group of men in a coaster bus and a Toyota Land cruiser to the check point between 5pm and 6pm that day.

One of his accomplices who was armed with a pistol allegedly went ahead in a PMV bus to the check point pretending to be a passenger. He shot the first deceased.

Apereo later arrived with the other vehicles and shot the second man, before others armed with bush knives chopped their bodies up.

The third man was allegedly shot by a high powered fire arm as the group was retreating from the check point. He died from loss of blood.

State alleges Apereo was the principal offender and is equally liable for killing all three men. The trial continues at Waigani.


Sally Pokiton