PNG church workers plead for more police help to end gang ‘reign of terror’

PNG police search for the notorious “Het Wara” gang
PNG police search for the notorious “Het Wara” gang on Madang's Rai coast. Image: PNG Post-Courier

PNG Post-Courier

Papua New Guinean church workers working behind the scenes to help the terrorised people of the Nankina valley in Madang’s Rai Coast district are now themselves at risk after they were named in a news report.

The missionaries (names withheld) called on the police to send in more manpower to apprehend the “Het Wara” gang, saying their members who are on the ground would now be targeted by the gangsters.

This plea comes shortly after reports came in from sources on the ground that the house of one of the church members was burnt by the gang.

One of the missionaries told the Post-Courier that they had not wanted to be named or take credit for what they were doing out of concern for the security of their members on the ground.

“Knowing how this gang operates, they will definitely go after our members when the police leave,” said the missionary.

“Over the course of two years, this gang has killed people who stood up to them, who reported them to authorities or who tried to get help.

“So we appeal to the government and the police, please send in more manpower, end their reign of terror.”

35 homes burnt down
Meanwhile, reports from the area indicate that the gang is continuing to terrorise villagers despite a contingent of policemen flying into the area this week. A total of 35 homes have been burnt down so far, with three men killed and several others severely injured.

There are also reports of an unconfirmed number of women and girls being abducted and raped by the gang in the last three weeks.

Madang police were deployed to the area on Sunday and 10 Northern mobile group policemen were deployed yesterday to beef up manpower to hunt down the gang.

The group was flown in yesterday morning to join the team of 11 from Madang.

Team leader Steven Yalamu told the Post-Courier that the team from Lae arrived safely and were all now based at Tibu.

21 policemen on the ground
“Currently, we have 21 men on the ground but we are looking at bringing in more manpower to hunt down these criminals who have been preying on their own people,” Detective Inspector Yalamu said.

“Also the place is so rugged and mountainous that we have to wait for a helicopter to fly us to where the gang is at now.

“The gang is still active and is moving, attacking other villages that are further away from where we are, but I’d like to remind them that the hand of the law is long and we will still catch up with them.”

Peace and normalcy has been restored at Tibu village where police are now based.

Yalamu called on all Tibu villagers who may still be hiding in the bush to return to their homes and village.

“I also call on all villagers in the area to work with us to apprehend this gang.”

Republished with permission.

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