PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National/PINA, Jan. 12) - A schoolboy was shot dead in the Papua New Guinea Highlands center of Mount Hagen as a police mobile squad fired shots while in pursuit of criminal suspects.

The boy, identified as Gabby Kutali, a grade 8 student at Kuluanda Primary School in Tari, Southern Highlands province, was on holiday in Mount Hagen.

Relatives said that police arrived in a 15-seater bus in pursuit of some suspects and opened fire near a settlement market.

They said Kutali was shot in the abdomen area as he came out of his relative's house to see the commotion.

Angry settlers and relatives marched into the Mount Hagen police station demanding an explanation from the local police hierarchy about the incident.

They were prevented from doing so when police in full force intervened and dispersed the crowd. 

Later, selected leaders and relatives had a closed-door conference with the Provincial Police Commander Allan Kundi.

Mr Kundi said he would order the Criminal Investigation Division to look into the matter.

January 13, 2003 

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