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Motive in killing unclear

By Johnny Poiya and David Muri PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 28, 2010) - Post-Courier reporter Sent Timbi was murdered near his house in Ogelbeng outside Mt Hagen on Saturday night.

The Mt Hagen based reporter was shot at close range in the chest by a high powered rifle from the vehicle of a relative who is a coffee businessman from the Yamka Kentimb tribe.

Relatives yesterday said Mr. Timbi was in his house with his wife Jacklyn, son Amos, a sister and mother after church service when called twice by the coffee tycoon from the reporter’s tribe to come out onto the road to assist in solving a problem between one of his drivers and his plantation workers over some pay issues.

The suspect drove past the road towards the Puntpulg singsing ground when Timbi came onto the road. He followed his vehicle and waited near a local movie theatre.

The businessman, who was accompanied by his son, is alleged to have fired a shot into the air and one into the mini-theatre, sending the people inside ducking for cover on the floor while those selling betel nut and other products outside fled into the coffee plantation. Timbi, who was standing under the lights in front of a store beside the movie building, was shot in the chest, killing him instantly between 7:30 and 8 p.m. The bullet penetrated through the reporter’s back, into the store and hit a man inside on his mouth.

Mt Hagen police yesterday retrieved three used bullet casings, identified as from a Self Loading Rifle (SLR), from the scene. The crime scene showed that the reporter was shot standing 10 metres from the gunman.

Government Ministers Sani Rambi and Don Polye yesterday condemned the killing with Rambi giving his word a detailed investigation would be conducted to bring those responsible to justice.

Relative Wan Kewa asked the prime suspects to surrender their weapons and themselves to police before peace talks and proper funeral arrangements could be arranged. Mr. Kewa told Minister Rambi who was at the murder scene yesterday to direct police to institute a thorough investigation into the killing, adding the perpetrators should face the full force of the law.

Minister Rambi assured the community that normal police investigations were already underway. He praised the relatives for respecting the law by not retaliating to Timbi’s killing. Rambi added that guns posed a continued threat to the society, despite his numerous overseas summits on this pressing issue. Minister for Works, Transport and Civil Aviation Don Polye also condemned the killing.

Tribesman Pang Paua said the killing was a shock to relatives and tribesmen. "We’ll not fight or take the law into our own hands. We put the murder of Sent in the hands of the law," Mr. Paua said.

Timbi joined the Post-Courier as a full time staff member in August last year. He worked as a free lancer for the two dailies for several years before to his full time employment. His interest in work was always in helping the needy. One of his most successful stories before his death was of little Jimi man David Sakiki who has now been taken into the family of former Police Minister Stanley Pil in Madang.

Timbi has five sisters and is the only son. He is survived by wife Jacklyn and son Amos.

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