PNG: Woman And Teen Kidnapped By Tribesman For Ransom, Released Upon Payment

Second major incident in Hela since special operations commenced there over a week ago

By Lynette Kil

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, January 16, 2017) – Defiant and fully armed tribesman made a daring kidnapping raid on a village in Hela Province last week despite the heavy presence of the 300 strong Police and Defence special operations forces there.

Local police said a raiding party converged on Parita village in broad daylight at about 9am on Monday where a 14-year old girl and an adult female were kidnapped and held for ransom over 24 hours until relatives paid K3,200 [US$1,000] before they were released.

Police said the two were not from the same family and they are still trying to establish the motive behind the kidnapping.

They said the two were sexually assaulted and now fear the kidnapping will spark armed retaliatory action.

According to the Provincial Police Commander Chief Superintendent Michael Walleythe raiding party of about 50 were armed with guns, bush knives and other traditional fighting weapons when they stormed the village. He said the pair were then taken to Heganda village in the Tari-Pori District with a demand for K4000 [US$1,250] to be paid as condition of their release. Fearing for their lives relatives quickly contributed K3200 [US$1,000]and paid the raiders securing their release. They were then taken to the Tari General Hospital for checkup before returning to their village.

Police are investigating the kidnapping and especially the use of guns despite a moratorium imposed for Hela especially and the whole country.

This is the second major incident in Hela since special operations commenced there over a week ago.

A man was shot dead in another part of the province in the evening of the same day of the kidnapping.

The two incidents have hastened the process in which police are checking for illegal forearms under the moratorium and other serious crimes committed in Hela.

Police said they will be fully investigating the shooting and the kidnapping.

Meanwhile, police retrieved a government vehicle belonging to the Works Department in Nipa Southern Highlands Province last week Wednesday. The vehicle was stolen during a roadblock by locals claiming Works did not pay compensation to one of their kinwho died while working with the department in 1982. Local police confiscated the vehicle with assistance from the troops deployed in Hela. The driver escaped when police arrived.

Meanwhile, police apprehended two more suspects believed to be the prime suspects in the killing of a man near Tari last week Monday.

The arrests bring to nine suspects arrested two days after the killing.

PNG Post-Courier
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