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Date Posted: Fri, Aug 11 2006, 04:16:58pm
University of Technology rape case stirs up discord
By YEHIURA HRIEHWAZI and PETER MIVA
TWO suspected rapists, who are civil engineering students at the University of Technology in Lae, Morobe province, will be “heavily” punished if proven guilty, according to acting vice chancellor Wilson Tovirika.
There was also strong condemnation by police, court and university administration against Enga students at Unitech who burnt more than 300 copies of yesterday’s edition of The National at the university gate in the morning.
Lae police chief Simon Kauba described the behaviour of the students as “childish” and that they “need to grow up”.
Lae court magistrate Martin Ipang, who deliberated on the rape case, also condemned the students’ actions, while Mr Tovirika said he did not condone such behaviour.
The acting VC also said any punishment against the rape suspects will be subject to internal investigations by the university and the findings of the Lae District Court.
The two second-year students, Eddie Kopio and Frank Moses, both 20, from Wapanamanda in Enga province, were alleged to have raped a female visitor from Manam in Madang, who went to see her relative on July 31.
Kopio and Moses appeared before the Lae District Court for mention on Wednesday where Mr Ipang refused bail and ordered that they be remanded in custody at the Buimo jail until their next appearance on Aug 21.
Mr Tovirika said there was so much concern in the community regarding violence against women and rape . . . “we don’t expect that to come from intelligent people; students should be the last people to do such things”.
He also condemned the burning of more than 300 copies of The National by Enga students, who were angry with the coverage of the story on the front page yesterday.
This was the second time the same group of students had burnt The National over its coverage of the alleged rape case. Last Friday, they burnt 400 newspapers.
Mr Tovirika said he would talk to the Students Representative Council president Nathan Dingu and urge him to restrain the students “from taking the matter into their own hands”.
“I am sorry about the behaviour of the students,” he told The National yesterday.
Mr Kauba urged the students to “grow up and act like mature adults”.
He condemned the students’ actions and said if they had any grievances over the report, they should raise it through proper dialogue instead of resorting to such acts.
“This is unethical; it is the act of little kids,” he said.
“If they dispute the decision of the courts, there are processes and procedures to be followed to dispute their claims.”
Mr Kauba said police would be forced to act if the students continue to burn the newspapers.
Mr Ipang also condemned the students’ actions, saying the two student suspects had admitted to the alleged crime.
He said he saw no reason why they burnt the newspapers.
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