PNG VILLAGE DEMANDS $11,000 COMPENSATION FOR DEATH

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Victim jumped from captive’s car

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 3, 2008) – A compensation demand for K30,000 [US$11,511] is taking its toll on the Orokolo people living at the Vanama one and two at the Talai settlement in Port Moresby.

Relatives of a Wabag girl killed two months ago have demanded the compensation over her death.

[PIR editor’s note: According to Wikipedia, Orokolo is a Trans-New Guinea language from Eleman family, which has eight different dialects, spoken in Papua New Guinea by about 13,000 people (1977). Orokolo generally refers to all of the Western Elema people living around Orokolo Bay in Papua New Guinea. Wabag is the provincial capital of Papua New Guinea’s Enga Province, bordering the Western and Southern Highlands provinces.]

Jack Ipi, a retired policeman living at Vanama one and speaking the Ahia dialect not related to the Orokolo and Popo speakers who speak the same vernacular, said the "Ahia" speakers had become victims of misdeeds done by Orokolo youths.

He said because of the behaviour of the youths, they and others were now paying through every ounce of sweat, collecting whatever little money they can afford.

"We gave the suspects into the hands of the law but were uncertain whether it was the relatives, sympathizers or looters who came in and burned and looted our place," he said. "The incident happened on a Tuesday, by Wednesday we had the suspects handed in but the very next day we heard that our houses had all burnt down to the ground," said Mr Ipi.

The Wabags have demanded the three suspects pay K15,000 [US$5,755] each and the driver of the getaway vehicle pay K20,000.

With no formal income, the displaced Orokolos with the help of "wantoks" are now relying heavily on the time-consuming lime-making business to help pay the compensation.

The incident, involving the teenage schoolgirl, occurred outside the Koki Salvation Army premises.

The girl had jumped to her instant death when she realized criminals who had held up her mother earlier were driving off with her. In fear and panic she jumped and ended killing herself on the concrete pavement.

She was the daughter of security firm owner, Daniel Tolabi.

According to Mr Ipi, an AOG pastor representing the businessman had said Mr Tolabi did not issue instructions for the burning of houses and had left the matter to police to handle.

The suspects are now all behind bars awaiting trial.

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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