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By James Apa Gumuno

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 4) - Students in the Mt Hagen Secondary School are shocked and bewildered after two of their female students were abducted and raped by gunmen, who had entered the Papua New Guinea school ground dressed as women and ambushed the girls in the toilets.

[PIR editor’s note: Mt Hagen is the provincial capital of Western Highlands Province located in the central part of Papua New Guinea’s mainland peninsula.]

Metropolitan police commander Theodore Muriki told The National yesterday that this incident happened last Saturday evening and criminal investigators were working on the case.

The school, one of the biggest in the country, is located within the city.

One of the girls attacked is a Grade 9 student from Baiyer district, while the other is a Grade 11 student from the Southern Highlands province.

Students told The National that six suspects, armed with guns and bush knives and dressed like women, entered the school and slipped into the female residential area and hid in the girls’ ablution blocks.

When the two girls went inside to use the toilet around 8 p.m., they were held up and taken away by the suspects in different directions.

They said one of the girls was gang raped by her kidnappers and left at a grave.

Male students rescued the other girl along the Highlands Highway 30 minutes after she was abducted.

The students said her kidnappers fled after realizing that they were being followed.

A female student, who had gone into the toilet after the two, raised the alarm after the armed men who had ordered her not to scream or raise the alarm about what they were doing allowed her back to her dormitory.

After the girl raised the alarm, male students rushed to the female residential area but the armed men had escaped with the girls.

The students pursued them, and rescued one girl near Bridgestone Tyres, about a kilometer away from the school, about half an hour after she was abducted.

They searched for the second girl and found her early Sunday near a cemetery across River Rorgen.

Mr. Muriki said police would interview members of the tribes that lived near the school, and he was confident of arrests.

School principal John Mamb was not available for comments.

The attack has shocked students and staff alike, but classes have not been disrupted and are continuing as the girls who were attacked, underwent medical examination and treatment at the city’s hospital.

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