O’Neill imposes PNG curfew, vows arrests in wake of Mendi torchings

Mendi’s courthouse was among two buildings set ablaze by the protesters over an unsuccessful appeal over last year’s general election. Image: Scott Waide/EMTV News

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

Papua New Guinea authorities have imposed a 6pm to 6am curfew in the Southern Highlands provincial capital of Mendi to prevent further violence.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has vowed that political leaders who are alleged to be behind the violence in which an Air Niugini aircraft at Mendi airport and the courthouse were set ablaze and destroyed yesterday will be arrested.

He said the culprits would be arrested and charged within a 21-day period, reports the PNG Post-Courier.

The blazing Air Niugini Link PNG aircraft at Mendi airport. Image: EMTV News

O’Neill announced this today after the National Executive Council decided to declare a state of emergency in Mendi.

Former Southern Highlands Provincial Administrator Thomas Eluh has been appointed SOE Controller.

Additional police and Defence Force personnel will be flown into Mendi to restore law and order.

-Partners-

The riot in Mendi followed a National Court decision yesterday dismissing the election petition by Joseph Kobol who had challenged last year’s election result, declaring the incumbent William Powi as Governor.

Plane, buildings set ablaze
An Air Niugini PNGLink Dash 8 aircraft was set on fire at Mendi airport, the District and National Court Building, as well as Governor William Powi’s residence were set alight in the election related violence to hit the Province.

Air Niugini chief executive officer Durani Tahawar said today that the captain and crew of the torched Link PNG Airline had safely arrived in Mount Hagen from Mendi under escort and were now being checked in at a safe Hotel.

“Our HGU staff is with them and we are grateful that they are safe, they shall return tomorrow to Port Moresby,” he said.

Earlier, Prime Minister O’Neill described the actions of the protesters as “disgraceful”, reports EMTV News.

Link PNG has suspended flights to Mendi, Tari and Wapenamanda until further notice.

Asia Pacific Report republishes EMTV News content with permission.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Two people die, PNG police officer wounded in Madang clashes

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Two people die, PNG police officer wounded in Madang clashes

Papua New Guinean police at the scene of the violence near Madang yesterday. Image: Scott Waide/EMTV

By Scott Waide in Madang

Two people are dead and a Papua New Guinean policeman is in critical condition in hospital after being wounded in clashes yesterday near Madang town.

The policeman, a senior constable, was trying to negotiate with local people who were protesting when he was slashed on his head and neck.

Police at the scene said the group of mainly local people was angry over harassment they had suffered on Friday at the hands of relatives of a teacher who had been beheaded at Bau on the Lae-Madang Highway.

Police said the locals were angry because they were not connected to the teacher’s killing.

After the initial confrontation, the crowd left, then regrouped just after midday yesterday.

As police were called in, locals felled a tree and blocked off Gum Bridge.

-Partners-

They also damaged the town’s water supply equipment near the bridge, and burnt an unmarked vehicle used by police.

The five officers in the vehicle were left unharmed.

Award-winning journalist Scott Waide is the Lae bureau chief on EMTV News and began his career with EMTV in 1997 as a news and sports reporter and anchor.

Police standing at the violent scene near Madang. Image: EMTV News A burnt out car used by police. Image: EMTV News

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‘Embalming’ hampers autopsy finding in death of PNG journalist

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: ‘Embalming’ hampers autopsy finding in death of PNG journalist

By Staycey Yalo in Port Moresby

The final autopsy report on Post-Courier journalist Rosalyn Albaniel Evara, handed to the Papua New Guinean Coroner’s Court last week, has an “undetermined death” finding.

PNG journalist Rosalyn Evara (left) on assignment. Image: EMTV News

Chief Pathologist Dr Seth Fose conducted the full autopsy and compiled the report, saying the cause of death was undetermined due to embalming, which had restricted the evidence at the time of autopsy, despite there being a reported history of domestic or physical violence.

While police investigations continue, Coroner Mekeo Gauli, said the journalist’s death earlier this month would not be taken lightly, as there was a huge public outcry for justice.

READ MORE: PNG prime minister O’Neill condemns violence against women, reports Pacific Media Watch

Evara died on 15 October 2017 at her company residence in the Port Moresby suburb of Boroko after she had complained of severe headaches.

The report of her death and the circumstances surrounding it received widespread calls for further investigations when her aunt, Mary Albaniel, revealed disturbing images of her bruised body during her funeral.

-Partners-

The pictures, according to Albaniel, were taken a day after her death, before the deceased’s body was taken to the funeral home.

The body then underwent embalming, the process of preserving the human flesh after death to delay decomposition.

Common sense
Medical practitioners say it is common sense that the autopsy must take place before the embalming.

This is the basis for Dr Fose’s medical opinion. He stated that based upon the autopsy of tissue microscopy analysis and police report to the coroner, a cause of death could be determined.

Adding that the contributing factor in limiting identification and interpretation of evidence of injuries, trauma, and natural disease was embalming artefacts and changes present at time of autopsy in spite of the history of domestic or physical assault.

However, as the funeral pictures revealed, the issue has not been taken lightly.

Coroner Gauli said that because of the keen public interest in this case, the matter will not be taken lightly.

He told EMTV that in a situation where nobody is charged, it would be up to him to call an inquest for all involved parties to come forward and give evidence before the National Court.

Public outcry
When the police concluded their investigations, the death would go before the coroner to give his decision.

Detective Chief Sergeant Ulagis Mantu of the police Homicide Division said investigations were still ongoing because of public outcry.

He said that while the coroner himself will give his opinion on the matter of the final report, he was calling on Rosalyn Evara’s family to come forward and give him their statements.

Staycey Yalois is an EMTV News journalist. Asia Pacific Report republishes EMTV News reports with permission.

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