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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 5) – A father of three has died after a crocodile overturned the canoe he was in and took him underwater in Papua New Guinea’s Gulf Province.

Southern region divisional commander John Marru said the victim, Sepu Lau, of Mapaio village, and his two daughters were out fishing last Wednesday in a swamp — a traditional fishing site — when the crocodile attacked.

He said Mr Lau and his daughters were in a dugout canoe floating a fishing net when a huge crocodile swam up from underneath and overturned the canoe, throwing the trio into the water.

Mr Marru said the two girls swam to safety to the bank of the swamp while the crocodile disappeared into the river with Mr Lau.

Gulf police confirmed the attack.

Mr Marru said the girls alerted villagers who immediately blocked off the mouth of the swamp and searched for Mr Lau.

Mr Marru said Baimuru police also assisted the villagers in the search, which continued until the next day, when Mr Lau’s body was found.

Gulf provincial police commander Senior Inspector Albert Korin said Mr Lau’s body was taken to Kerema hospital for postmortem examination.

Mr Lau was a community worker attached to the Kerema hospital and was spending Christmas holidays with his family when the tragedy happened.

His body was returned to the village for burial yesterday.

Meanwhile, arson in retaliation to the murder of an elderly man suspected of sorcery has claimed family houses in the Miaru village along Malalaua Highway.

Mr Marru said the houses were set on fire in retaliation by frustrated relatives of the elderly man who was beaten to death by four men who had accused the old man of sorcery last November.

He said tension was high among the parties.

Police were keeping a close watch on the situation and would move in at the sign of trouble.

January 6, 2005

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