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Attempted shooting by former leader’s son triggers tensions

By Simon Eroro PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 21, 2010) – East Sepik Governor Peter Wararu Waranaka’s relatives are demanding 5 million-kina [US$2 million] in compensation from the Somare family following an attempted shooting of the Yangoru Saussia Member of Parliament on Saturday.

[PIR editor’s note: Yangora Saussia is a district in the East Sepik Province in Papua New Guinea.]

A senior police officer in Wewak confirmed last night that one of the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare Grand Chief’s sons (named) is alleged to have drawn a shot gun on Governor Waranaka and was about to shoot when East Sepik Administrator Samson Torovi struck the arm holding the gun and the bullets missed Mr. Waranaka.

And yesterday Sir Michael initiated peace by personally going to the Governor’s house on Wewak hill with two pigs and 20,000 kina [US$8,000] in cash. Reports from Wewak said the Chief’s offer was rejected and Governor Waranaka’s people were demanding 5 million-kina [US$2 million] instead. They also demanded that the Chief’s son be arrested and charged by police

In the normal Yangoru custom, such compensation demands would be spearheaded by maternal uncles of the aggrieved person who were referred to in Tok Pisin as "ol kandre".

Peace negotiations were still continuing late last night.

Police in Wewak confirmed the incident yesterday and said they were investigating. Police Commissioner’s office in Port Moresby said they were awaiting a report from Regional Police commander Assistant Commissioner Liosi Gabi before he could comment.

Asked how the incident occurred, the Wewak police officer said an argument erupted over a range of issues from politics to administration.

This policeman confirmed a firearm was discharged in the process by the Chief’s son.

Attempts also to contact Governor Wararu was unsuccessful, however, a public servant (named) said while the entire province was disappointed with the incident, they were angry over the family member for bringing shame to Sir Michael.

This public servant described Sir Michael as a good man whose reputation was being tainted by people close to him and those entrusted to work for him.

"The Saturday incident is another burden on the old man. Things have gone wrong and he needs prayers and support not only from the people of East Sepik but the country as a whole and for more problems to bombard him during this time is completely terrible," he said.

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