|PNG Police Commissioner. Tom Kulunga. Getty Images|
Commissioner Kulunga praises policemen and villagers for capture of four suspects in attack on trekkers and local porters along popular Black Cat Track
Commissioner of Police Toami Kulunga today heaped praises for policemen and villagers in the Morobe province whose tireless efforts resulted in the capture of four of the six persons who attacked trekkers and their porters along the Black Cat Track in the Morobe Province.
The attack on September 10 left two local porters dead and a number of them including nine foreign trekkers sustaining injuries.
One of the suspect was caught in Salamaua whilst the other three were caught in Wau.
“I believe it is only a matter of time before the other two are captured and brought in,” Commissioner Kulunga said.
Commissioner Kulunga also confirmed reports that a man was attacked and killed by relatives of one of the two murdered porters. He said relatives of one of the dead porters accused the man of harbouring the six criminals and attacked him. Police intervened and flew him to the nearest health centre but he died from loss of blood.
“There will be an investigation and the persons responsible for this recent death will be arrested. No-one has the right to take anyone’s life,” Commissioner Kulunga said.
“Whilst I encourage the local community to continue to assist police capture the remaining attackers I urge you not to take the law into you own hands. Let the law deal with them,” He added.
Meanwhile a major police operation involving some 30 police personnel from Morobe Province will soon be underway to capture the remaining furgitives. Commissioner Kulunga personally flew to Lae, Morobe Province to ensure all logistics – including ground and air transportation, as well as fuel, rations and camping equipment for the police personnel engaged in the operation – were available.
Commissioner Kulunga said, “Whilst the attack has done a lot of damage to the country in general and to some sections of the local Wau-Bulolo economy which depends on trekkers, we must not forget the dedication, commitment, loyalty and professionalism of all Papua New Guineans involved, including the local porters who defended the trekkers with their lives and the police in the initial response and rescue operations.
“The commitment of the villagers in helping police bring in the four suspects speaks volumes for our people’s genuineness and hospitality as well. The attack was an isolated and one-off incident and not a reflection of the generally friendly people of the Morobe Province.”