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O’Neill condemns attack on trekkers

PRIME MINISTER Peter O’Neill has condemned the attack on the trekkers at the Black Cat Trail in Morobe Province.
Mr O’Neill said in Parliament yesterday that such incidences were happening far too frequently and were committed by criminals and this was totally unacceptable to the way of life in the society where many people are law abiding citizens.
On Tuesday afternoon, on the border of Salamaua and Wau district, trekkers and their porters were attacked by criminals.
Two porters have been killed, 12 have been injured, 10 have been airlifted to Lae yesterday morning and nine trekkers, who are tourists are injured and were flown out of Bulolo to Port Moresby yesterday afternoon.
“I want to thank the Member for Bulolo (Sam Basil) for alerting authorities and myself,” Mr O’Neill said.
“In doing so, we have been able to move as quickly to communicate with the police hierarchy and communicate to those on the ground who were not aware of the incident.
“The communication has helped us to address it in a timely manner and this morning (yesterday) we were able to despatch a police helicopter at 6.30am which has since arrived at the location and those who are seriously injured are now transported to Angau Hospital for further medical treatment.
“I regret that these incidences are happening far too frequently and these are happening from citizens who are obviously criminals and this is totally unacceptable to our way of living in our society where many of our communities are law abiding citizens.’’
Mr O’Neill said it was important that the community worked with the police to apprehend the perpetrators as quickly as possible.
“I have already directed the Commissioner of Police to despatch a mobile unit in there immediately to take control of policing not only in the incident area but the greater Wau area so that law and order is restored, where continuous breakout in cells and continuous breakout in prisons are just occurring at will.
“We will work closely with the (Bulolo) MP Basil to making sure that this incident is attended to in a timely manner and his suggestion that we upgrade security arrangement for many of our tourists.”
Mr Basil said three of the men who attacked the trekkers were believed to be escapees from the Wau police cells and others were from the area.
Mr Basil had asked Mr O’Neill to have the current police in Wau replaced as some of the people who attacked the trekkers were escapees and known to the police in Wau, and at times it is very hard to apprehend those criminals.
“We have a new police barracks in Wau and we need new policemen in Wau,” he said.
Mr Basil also asked Mr O’Neill for the police helicopter to be kept in Wau for a week to ensure those culprits were apprehended.

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