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Three others not so lucky in brutal attack

By Todagia Kelola PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 20, 2011) - Lia Kopi is a lucky woman in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Her friends are dead. But she is alive and this is her amazing escape from the jaws of death.

Yesterday, she was brought to the Port Moresby General Hospital in a lot of pain as a result of a beating she was subjected to at the hands of her aggressors.

Lia and her three friends were accused of sorcery. At about 3am, she was dragged from her home with the three others, subjected to torture, bound and driven to the Laloki River bridge outside Port Moresby.

Like an episode out of the movie Season of the Witches, Lia was dumped over the edge of the bridge with her friends. Her friends drowned but Lia was lucky. She landed on dry ground and was rescued at daylight by Goilala people living nearby. At the emergency ward yesterday, she could not talk nor move her body, except for small whimpers of pain and tears flowing down her cheeks as reporters and their photographers crowded into the small cubicle at the Emergency ward to see the sole survivor of yet another horrendous killing in Port Moresby.

She was in terrible pain, with deep wounds all over her frail body, while the doctors and nurses were doing their bit to ease the pains and save her from her torment.

Lia Kopi, from the Chimbu Province and her three other womenfolk, are victims of yet another act of sorcery related killings in the country.

Although she could not relate her ordeal to this reporter, it was obvious that she was very lucky to be alive, despite the horrific condition that she was in.

The four women, all from Chimbu Province, were allegedly taken hostage by angry relatives of a young man who had died recently at Two Mile Hill settlement.

They were driven to Laloki bridge outside Port Moresby at around 4am where they were brutally beaten, chopped with bush knives and thrown into the river.

Lia was lucky to be rescued by the Goilala community living at Laloki while the other three bodies were swept down the river.

Police were alerted and the Chief of Police Operations in the city, Superintendent Andy Bawa and his men from the Dog Unit and forensic squad went to the scene where they were able to locate only three of the four women including Lia who was in critical condition. The fourth body is yet to be recovered.

National Capital District (NCD) Central Commander Fred Sheekiot in releasing the information said: "It’s an unfortunate and unwarranted killing, how could they, the relatives of the dead man know that the four are responsible for the death of their relative, there is no proof to substantiate them taking the lives of these women."

The suspects are known to police and Mr. Sheekiot said all those involved including the driver of the vehicle, those who tied the women and those who committed the murder, will be rounded up and charged with willful murder.

"This is just sickening, we are in the nation’s capital and there are processes and procedures to follow if you think the women are involved, you just cannot go and take someone’s life on suspicion," he said. He also appealed to the relatives of the dead women not to retaliate and let the law take its course.

"I appeal to the relatives of the four women not to be like these people and allow my men to carry out their job, rest assured that we know the identities of those involved and we will bring them in for questioning shortly," he said.

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