Thursday, September 18, 2014

JULIE SOSO: IMPLEMENT DEATH PENALTY!



The Barola section of the Highlands  Highway will remain closed until Friday when the community presents a petition  containing their demands to the Eastern Highlands leaders.

A series of blockades were set up after a young Kainantu  teacher  was tortured  and killed  on a Lae bound  PMV two days before Independence. 

Yesterday, Eastern Highlands MPs including Governor, Julie Soso,  met with the community  expressing a call for the speedy implementation of the death penalty.

Yesterday, Police Minister Robert Atiyafa,  Eastern Highlands Governor, Julie Soso, Kainantu MP,  Johnson Tuke, led a high powered delegation to meet with the Barola people. 

As they work to diffuse tensions that began on Saturday.   Details of the killing  that sparked  this unrest are slowly coming to the fore.

Since Saturday,  it has become clear Albert Gibson, father of a six month old baby,  was murdered because of his ethnicity and because the bus he was traveling on was stoned near his  town.  His relatives are still coming to terms with his brutal death.

“How can someone endure that kind of torture,”  said Vincent Aikebus who spoke at the gathering yesterday. “He wasn’t  Jesus Christ. Why did they have to kill him for something another had done?”

Albert Gibson   was the Coordinator of Kainantu’s newly opened distance learning center. His death has sparked widespread anger prompting both members of the public and  Eastern Highlands governor Julie Soso  to  call for  the quick implementation of the  death penalty. 

“We have felt enough pain. If we have to implement the death penalty,  now is the time.”

Police Minister, Robert Atiyafa and the Kainantu MP, Johnson Tuke, say they too will back that call in Parliament. 

“It was brutal and uncalled for,” said Atiafa.

Barola used to be a criminal hotspot.  But about 12 years ago, things began to change as the criminals laid down their arms.  Albert Gibson,  many said,  was a product of that period of change. 

The murder  has plunged Barola back to the bad old days.  On Sunday night, a Hagen bound container vehicle was burned.   As the EMTV Lae Bureau crew were filming,  another vehicle  was stopped.  Within minutes,   the situation deteriorated as tribesmen sought an avenue to vent their anger. 

The rear windows hacked with knives and axes.  The driver  was ironically a teacher himself.  Former DWU lecturer, Chris Papiali,  was forced out of the vehicle, later took refuge in a police vehicle.  
He escaped unhurt. His vehicle was destroyed and his property taken.  

The people here say they  do not  want compensation for the death of the Albert Gibson.    They want  the murderers to be brought to justice and executed. 

Eastern Highlands MPs will be meeting with the Western Highlands Governor and other Western Highlands MPs  to discuss a way forward and hopefully, have the highway reopened by Friday



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