Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Murdered Belgian's widow reveals ordeal



THE widow of the Belgian believed to have been murdered by locals in the remote Nondri area of Gumine, Chimbu, on Jan 27, is calling on police to speed up their investigations and arrest suspects, The National reports.

Tony Boddin, an elderly retired member of the British army, was allegedly killed by locals, while his pregnant wife was kidnapped and repeatedly raped for two days before she was rescued by tribesmen.

The child was lost as a result and the widow, Ronic Boddin, returned to Banz, Western Highlands, where she is from.

Speaking for the first time this week about the ordeal, the widow said she believed her husband’s body had been buried in a cave and was yet to be recovered.

She claimed the suspects operated as a syndicate and were responsible for a string of murders in the area, yet no one had been arrested.

She named the victims as a priest, a primary school teacher, a nursing officer, a tribeswoman and a father and son who were beheaded while crossing a river.

She claimed there were 12 suspects, including a university student and a woman, who is the mastermind.

Police knew their identities but were not doing anything, she claimed.

According to the widow, she and her husband were invited to Nondri village by a Francis Gore, a local Catholic catechist, and had travelled there last Dec 27.

She said they had stayed with the family for three weeks and were on their way to a nearby creek to do their laundry on Jan 9 when they were confronted by the gang.

She claimed that they were told to return home by one of the suspects while the woman member of the gang arranged for the other suspects, who were armed with axes, knives and two guns, to hold up the couple at gunpoint at the house they were staying in.

The suspects then axed her husband on his shoulder and tied him with a rope onto a post inside the house.

She said they then took her away at gunpoint and locked her inside another house where one of the suspects guarded her with a knife pointed at her heart while the other suspects stoned her husband and chased him down to the river.

Then the chasers returned and forced her to walk to a house located on a mountain where five men took turns in repeatedly raping her.

She named the suspects, saying they were related to the family the couple was staying with and did not understand why they would do such things.

She said she managed to escape while she was being escorted to another house and made her way to Kundiawa where the matter was reported to police.

Human rights advocacy group, Jiwaka Waal Daam Association (JWDA), which had been assisting Ronic Boddin fight for justice, called on police to fast-track the arrest of the suspects.

JWDA executive secretary Wilfred Kulno said yesterday this was a serious matter and no one had been arrested in over two months.

He said talks were progressing with the Belgian embassy in Canberra, Australia, which had agreed to help retrieve Boddin’s remains and accord him a decent burial in Banz where his relatives would also attend.

Chimbu police could not be reached for comments yesterday.

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