Friday, June 25, 2010

Pastor dad and son shot dead

A BAPTIST church pastor and his 20-year-old son were shot dead in a fierce tribal fight between Pangia’s Ekri and Epari tribes in Southern Highlands last week, The National reports.

Properties worth tens of thousands of kina were also destroyed in the feud that broke out in Ialibu-Pangia’s Koiya village.

The pastor, identified as Michael Timin, 46, and his son were both killed along with many others.

The son was killed on June 16 when he accompanied his mother to the garden in Wembon village where Ekri tribesmen emerged from hiding and shot him. His mother fled.

On June 18, the Ekri tribe surrounded Timin’s house in Koiya village, shot him in the head and chopped up his body into bits and pieces with an axe.

According to locals in Koiya, Timin and his families from the Epari tribe left their Wembu village because they did not want to get involved in the fight and went to live with the Unduyapu tribe in Koiya.

The assailants followed them to Koiya village, which belongs to the Unduyapu tribe, and killed both father and son.

Locals said father and son were innocent because they did not want to get involved in the fight and left their village and their tribesmen.

Eyewitness Robin Kowe told The National in Mt Hagen yesterday after Timin’s son was killed, the locals were told to chase away strangers entering their village because they did not want the people to fight in their area.

Kowe said Koiya villagers were busy building a fence in Unduyapu village school for a cultural show on June 15 when armed assailants struck.

Timin and his younger brother, Michael, were at home when the assailants surrounded their house at 1pm.

He said Michael armed himself with a home-made pistol and escaped into the nearby bush and Timin was in the house when the assailants attacked him.

Kowe said when Michael learnt Timin was killed, he retaliated and shot one of the assailants with his pistol.

Kowe said high-powered weapons were being used in the fight after Timin’s tribesmen retaliated.

He said the situation was tense and locals could not give any report on the number of people killed.

The two tribes fought in 2007 during the local level government election.

When a candidate from the Epari tribe lost the election, his tribesmen raped women and girls and robbed the Ekri tribe.

The Ekri tribe then retaliated and killed Welma and a tribal fight broke out with many deaths and properties destroyed.

Southern Highlands police commander Teddy Tei said yesterday they were waiting for local MP Peter O’Neill and the district administrator to release funds for his men to be airlifted to the war zone.

“The area is only accessible by air and we need funds to send police in to stop the fight,” he added.



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