MOTHER of two Jacinta Rony was gunned down in broad daylight last Saturday at the Tolukuma gold mine in the Goilala district of Central province, The National reports.
And grieving relatives are now claiming that mine owner Petromin is trying to sweep the killing under the carpet.
Rony, 36, three months pregnant with her third child, died from gunshot wounds to the neck while a male employee was left unconscious by the criminals who had breached security at the mine site. Both were employed by Ipi Mountain Catering, the company which provides catering service to the mine as well as run the canteen to serve the surrounding community.
Family spokesman Air Niugini pilot Captain Joseph Kumasi said yesterday that 48 hours after the killing, neither Petromin nor Ipi Mountain Catering had come forward to provide the family with an official account of what happened.
Instead, the mine had emailed all its managers on Sunday not to talk to the media about it.
The National could not talk to Petromin's corporate manager Sam Inguba who was on recreational leave while calls to managing director Joshua Kalinoe's office were referred to acting public affairs manager Babani Maraga who said a statement would be forthcoming.
Kumasi was also concerned that Petromin did not have the courtesy to notify Rony's husband John Kaima, a mine employee who was on field break in Mt Hagen, of his wife's death.
He added that her IPI colleagues at Tolukuma informed family members in Port Moresby who in turn broke the sad news to Kaima.
Rony, from Numboruon village, Yangoru, East Sepik, had been with Ipi Mountain Catering for the past five years, her recent posting was as supervisor of canteens at Tolukuma mine.
According to relatives, she had closed shop at 3pm and was taking the day's taking to the office when she was ambushed, dying on the spot within minutes of the attack.
Kumasi said the while relatives appreciated that no information of the killing must be made public while police investigations were continuing, they had the right to know whether lack of security personnel at the mine site for non-mining facilities had led to this unfortunate incident.
This was given the fact that mine had embarked on a cost-cutting exercise recently.
Ipi Catering chief executive officer Scott O'Reilly yesterday confirmed the death.
"The employees were set upon by armed criminals on Saturday evening following the close of trade at the company's kiosk near Tolukuma," he said.
O'Reilly said police were now investigating.