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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Oct. 12) – A prominent businessman and community leader in Papua New Guinea’s Enga province has been shot dead and chopped up in front of his wife and children.

Enga police said yesterday that Kano Elyan was held up by more than 10 men armed with a shotgun, axes and bush knives.

He was held up in his home village of Mala in the Laiagam district on Friday morning during a roadblock, dragged out of a bus and shot in the chest. Mr Elyian’s body was later chopped up with bush knives and axes. He was driving a bus and dropping off passengers along the normal bus routes and was heading to Kandep.

Provincial police commander Superintendent Teddy Tei said he did not have the details of the wife and children but he said Mr Elyian was killed by tribal rivals in retaliation for past murders and compensation claims.

[PIR editor’s note: Laiagam is located in the western part of Enga Province, which borders the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea.]

Once the matter was reported by tribesmen to police, Supt Tei said policemen and provincial administrator Dr Samson Amean went to the scene to deal with the situation and to cool tensions.

Two tribesmen have been arrested so far, while police are continuing investigations and are finalising statements before laying charges this week.

Supt Tei said yesterday, this was the fifth murder case in the last three weeks since he took over as the new provincial commander. He said the province was experiencing a very high rate of killing.

The figures were alarming compared to any other province in the country. He said he was tightening up strategies and would bring those responsible to face the full force of the law.

"Compensation will not be an excuse," Supt Tei said. "I as the new PPC will enforce the laws of this land. Compensation will not be an excuse to avoid justice. We will arrest and charge any culprits who commit murders. And if people cannot negotiate with police and the laws of the land, then we will use force to apprehend the lawbreakers."

Supt Tei said the compensation mentality was giving more strength to people and encouraged them to murder — while compensation remained as an excuse for the killer.

October 13, 2005

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