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Date Posted: Fri, Oct 26 2007, 11:13:17pm
Weekend Extra (Travel & Sports)
Weekend Edition Fri - Sun 27th - 29th October , 2007
“What are we doing here, it is not time to talk. They are there, let us go and kill them all and we talk later”.
That was how one Engan suggested they take revenge on the West Papuans who were allegedly responsible for the killing of senior magistrate Ivo Cappo.
Another said “what’s all this nonsense (peace talks) here about. We have to get things done first, I don’t like the way we are talking…we are wasting too much time”.
There was an irresistible applause of approval from the crowd in response at Kone Tigers Oval in the national capital on Monday morning where friends and relatives of Mr Cappo gathered to establish the circumstances leading to his death.
Many were heard complaining that it was customarily wrong to sit back and talk about the death of a leader, particularly after he was murdered by people they called strangers.
They said revenge ought to take place before peace could be negotiated. In other words, in the archetypal Enga tradition, when a leader of Mr Cappo’s calibre was exterminated in the manner that was done, there must be retaliation, mainly payback killing.
This, according to their belief among others, is to uphold tribal power on defending property and lives against rivals.
They also think a justice is rightly done to the relatives of the victim when a killing is executed in retaliation.
This was confirmed by the words of Lagaip-Porgera MP Philip Kikala when he said: “If this was in Enga, a tribal fight would have resulted without wasting time.”
There was no doubt that such a deed was proposed with devastating support, but it was not enforced.
The idea was robustly opposed to the resentment of the majority of the relatives since the brutal murder of Mr Cappo until today.
The foiling of the traditional payback killing, which rarely happens in a classic Engan society, particularly when a person died under circumstances similar to that of Mr Cappo, was driven by a group of educated relatives and leaders of the Lagaip-Porgera community in the capital city.
Indeed, Engans who would like to promote a good image about their province, the law enforcing bodies, and the parties concerned with the plight of the West Papuans should give any credits that may due to senior state lawyer David Lambu, community leader Wallen Laipen, Mr Kikala and others that resisted such plans.
Pointing his fingers at one of those who advocated payback killing, Laipen said: “This is the capital city of the country, not your village in Enga. Will you be around to face those who front up after causing all these problem? No, you will go into hiding and I will be there to face them.
“That is why I do not want such plans.”
Mr Kikala said Mr Cappo was one of the pioneers of modern education in Enga, particularly in the Laiagam area and any problems caused would not do any good to his achievements. “Late Ivo Cappo was first to be educated, first to get a job, first to be promoted in the public service and a first magistrate as far as our area is concerned.
“This beautiful story that he left behind when he was killed must not be stained by any criminal actions,” he said.
He said it was in the best interest of the public including the majority of his relatives, friends, colleagues of the justice sector and state authorities to allow the due process of the law to deal with those responsible for the death of Mr Cappo.
Mr Kikala also thanked community leaders from their area, mainly Mr Lambu and Laipen for doing a laudable job in suppressing illicit schemes including payback killing.
“I am so grateful that our leaders, mainly David and others have done a wonderful job in keeping our people under control.
“This must continue, particularly while we are living in a community with a mixture of people from different cultures and races,” he said. He said traditional practices that were conflicting to the laws of the country and other ethnic groups’ way of living should not be practised in the city, adding it was time the leaders of different communities taught their people to discard practices that were inappropriate in contemporary PNG.
Mr Cappo from Laiagam area in Enga Province was a principal magistrate at the Port Moresby Court at the time of his brutal killing last weekend.
He was described by many as a down to earth person who mixed well with the grassroots population in the streets and settlements of Port Moresby and many places including Mendi in Southern Highlands Province where he was working in his 40 years of service to the state through the PNG Magisterial Service.
“He is such a humble person who would always like to help the small people.
“Those who know him will miss him for a long time,” a close friend and Imbongu MP Francis Awesa said.
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