PNG STUDENT KILLED IN SIMBU MELEE

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Argument over auto accident escalated

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Aug. 18, 2008) - A grade 10 student was shot dead and a senior police officer had his right ear smashed when Kerowagi Secondary School students and a group of locals clashed outside the Kerowagi police station, Simbu province, on Saturday afternoon.

Reports said a new police Toyota Landcruiser was set alight and the Kerowagi police station ransacked. Residences of the district administrator and the Kerowagi police station commander were also looted and stripped of almost everything.

The body of the deceased is at the Kundiawa General Hospital morgue while the injured cop, Police station commander Inspector Mathew Uvovo, and two other injured police personnel were referred to the hospital for medical treatment.

Police said all files and records at the Kerowagi station were destroyed. Four suspects detained at the police cells were also released.

Simbu provincial police commander Supt Joseph Tondop confirmed the incident yesterday.

He said the incident was sparked after a teacher from the school, driving the school truck, ran into a vehicle belonging to Kerowagi district administrator Gabriel Kaugla, which was parked on the side of the road near Koronigle Bridge.

Supt Tondop said the teacher driver was then arrested and charged.

Students, in the company of teachers, went to the police station and argued with the policemen. He said the argument developed into a confrontation between supporters of the district administrator and the students.

Warning shots were fired and a stray bullet hit one of the students who died on the spot, Supt Tondop said.

The deceased has been identified as Miugle Willie, 18, a Grade 10 student from Bombir village in Kerowagi district.

Students retaliated by ransacking the police station, and set fire to a brand new police 10-seater Toyota Landcruiser.

Simbu Governor Father John Garia and acting Simbu administrator Steven Yakali, who were in Kerowagi yesterday, condemned the actions of the students.

Father Garia blasted the school administration, saying teachers and the board of governors have lost control of the school.

He called for a full investigation into the incident and to bring those responsible to justice.

Superitendant Tondop also expressed disappointment over the bashing of his policemen and the destruction of the station.

All normal police duties at Kerowagi have been suspended, pending a full investigation.

Most students have deserted the school in fear for their lives.

Relatives of the deceased yesterday went to Kerowagi and informed the district administration, police and the school that they would make known their compensation demands today.

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