PNG VILLAGERS FORCED TO SLEEP ON GRAVE

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By James Gumuno

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, June 13) - Six men and eight women, including two children, from Kagua-Erave district were forced to sleep in a cemetery last Tuesday night by the Ialibu people over unpaid compensation demands.

[PIR editor’s note: Kagua-Erave is a district in the Southern Highlands province in Papua New Guinea. Yarena is a village in the district of Ialibu – Pangia, also in the Southern Highlands province. ]

These people were traveling on three vehicles back to their district from Mt Hagen when Ialibu people blocked the road and told them to sleep on the grave of a soldier killed by the Andai clansmen from Erave on May 5, 2005.

The Ialibu people set the road block at Yarena village to show their frustration after the Andai clansmen failed to pay their compensation demand of PGK130,000 [US$44,677] and 30 pigs demanded by the relatives of the deceased.

They, however, set free the Kagua-Erave people on Wednesday.

According to Ialibu police, no one was assaulted and the vehicles and personal items were safe.

The police said the people were forced to sleep at the cemetery, where the late Private Joc Naru was buried.

The police appealed to the Andai people to pay the compensation because the delay was forcing the Ialibu people to set up roadblocks as well as attacking innocent people traveling past Ialibu to Kagua-Erave district.

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