Monday, January 05, 2009

What a terrible way for Papua New Guinea to start the year!

What a terrible way for Papua New Guinea to start the year!

Terrorism has indeed come to Papua New Guinea!

Murders! Rocket launchers and grenades being found on planes!

At least that’s what went through my mind this morning as I glanced at the front pages of both newspapers.

The National led on its front page with the story of Port Moresby police last Friday arresting five suspects in connection with the arrest of young Air Niugini pilot Timothy Houji, who was brutally murdered in downtown Port Moresby on New Year’s Day.

The five suspects – one of them a PNG Defence Force soldier based at Taurama Barracks -  are all from the the Kombe area of West New Britain province, are at the Boroko police cells and will appear in court this week.

They will all be charged with willful murder, which carries the death penalty.

Mr Houji was of mixed East Sepik and Manus parentage.

He was just 26 years old and just four days shy of his 27th birthday.

He was a first officer on the F100 fleet and was heading towards command training to become a captain of a Dash 8 aircraft this year.

The other frightening story on the front page of The National was that of Mount Hagen police confiscating a rocket launcher along with nine grenades, a sophisticated lens and two CDs from a man at Kagamuga Airport last Wednesday.

A suspect from Nipa in Southern Highlands province was transporting the items on a flight from Kikori, Gulf province, into Western Highland province, when police checked his baggage and confiscated the items.

The suspected was arrested.

The Post-Courier led with the story of the munitions haul in Mt Hagen plus Air Niugini management confirming that a grenade had been found in a passenger seat pocket on a flight between Buka, Rabaul, Lae and Port Moresby.

The national airline has immediately taken steps to boost the checking of planes and luggage in the interests of passenger safety, including sending marshals on every flight to and from Buka.


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