By STEPHANIE ELIZAH
CIVILIANS in the Konnou constituency of South Bougainville are living in fear as armed thugs continue a killing spree that has been ongoing since 2006, The National reports.
In a most recent spate of killings, two people, including a Grade 6 student of Ugubagohu primary school, are dead and another is wounded and recovering at the Arawa health centre.
South Bougainville police commander Paul Kamuai confirmed armed thugs fired several shots at civilians last Saturday, killing the two people instantly and wounding the other.
He said policemen were immediately dispatched to the area to protect the villagers and investigate the deaths.
Preliminary reports received by police said the gunshot victims were drinking alcohol when the armed thugs shot them in the head and chest and wounded the other on the leg.
Commander of Wissai Liberation Movement Philip Pusua, who travelled to Buka yesterday to report the fatal shooting, said no one knew why the latest shooting deaths had taken place.
He claimed the criminals were followers of former combatant Damien Koike from Mohoroi village in the Tabago area of South Bougainville and alleged they were led by Koike who moved into Leulo village indiscriminately firing shots at civilians before fleeing into the unoccupied Siniminoi and Tonolei jungles.
He said 23 civilians, including women and children, had been killed by Koike’s band of criminals in the Wissai area.
Pusua appealed to the PNG and Bougainville governments and former combatants in Bougain¬ville to protect the people of Konnou.
“I call on the government that we are not fighting a war or have a crisis in the Wissai Konnou area, we are being surrounded by a bunch of criminals, murderers, killing human beings in cold-blood, criminals who don’t have any desire for humanity, people who listen to no men,” he said.
“I want to appeal to the government or the ex-combatants to come up with an appropriate solution or action to address this lawlessness.
“I think it is time we draw a line between political issues and law and order issues, or should there be a law for our government in providing welfare and security for its citizens,” he said.