Caption: Bulolo MP Sam Basil (right) presents K20, 000 to Morobe police chief Peter Guiness as provincial administrator Patilias Gamato and others look on.
Bulolo MP Sam Basil has taken offence at today’s editorial in The National titled ‘Rushed aid is counterproductive’ which questioned his giving K100,000 to help victims of last weekend’s stand-off between Watut and Biangai tribes in Wau.
Greatly-distressed Mr Basil said today that the editorial was “very insensitive to the highly-volatile and sensitive situation in Wau at the moment”.
The MP made a commitment of K100, 000 to help those displace by the stand-off last Sunday, however, today’s editorial claimed that this would be “counterproductive”.
“If the Biangais were to mobilise tomorrow for a return raid and similar violence was visited upon the Watut, would it be incumbent upon the Member to offer similar assistance?” the editorial posed.
“Were the killers apprehended?
“What processes have been set in motion to determine who really are the rightful landowners?
“How will the Watuts react to their Member’s sudden outpouring of cash gifts towards their sworn enemy?”
Mr Basil replied that the editorial was only adding more fuel to the fire.
“I would appreciate your editorial comment as such to be made at least some days after the event,” he said.
“The money is, as you know, not only for relief supplies for the people who lost their homes, including a woman who gave birth in the bushes at Kaisenik village.
“It is also for the police operations as since their deployment on Friday/Saturday, they barely have rations, as Morobe Mining Joint Venture’s supplies have been depleted.
“The district administrator and his team also do not have capacity in terms of fuel, vehicles, food rations, camping gear, and many other contributing factors to handle the situation.
“It is not good to talk about what the Watut thinks about helping me their rivals!
“The way this paper has put it, is that it wants to spark more violence, by providing arguing points for the rival clans to use.
“I can't just watch the mothers hiding in the bushes giving birth while the children suffer from hunger and cold.
“The relief supplies from national and provincial governments, as we all know, all too often come too late after people die.
“For sure, if the Watuts suffer tomorrow, it is my duty to help, regardless of which ever side of the factions they come from.
“It may be best to ask all media to refrain from making such comments until the two factions come to the round table.”
Meanwhile, Mr Basil today presented K20, 000 – from his K100, 000 commitment - to Morobe provincial police commander Peter Guiness to assist police logistics during their stay in Wau.
Provincial administrator Patilias Gamato thanked Mr Basil for the money saying that “it is very timely as the police logistical support is minimal”.
“While the provincial and national government assistance is a while away, this help from the local MP is very timely,” he said.
Mr Basil said: “The remainder of the funds will be used for Bulolo district administration staff to help with logistics and administration, while the Biangai and the Watut people who lost their homes will be attended to by receiving relief supplies.”