September 15, 2013
FOUR of the six men who attacked an Australian trekking party in Papua New Guinea have been captured and a man suspected of harbouring the criminals has been killed in a retribution attack.PNG police officers and local villagers have been scouring the jungle around the Black Cat trail since September 10 after a group of eight trekkers were attacked by six armed men.
Two of the group's porters were hacked to death and eight were potentially crippled during a frenzied attack which lasted more than half an hour and was described as "pure butchery".
"I believe it is only a matter of time before the other two are captured and brought in," PNG Commissioner of Police Toami Kulunga said.
He said relatives of murdered porter Matthew Gibob had accused the man of harbouring the six criminals and attacked him - striking him to the head and back with a machete in a retribution style attack.
Police intervened and flew him to the nearest health centre but he died from loss of blood.
"There will be an investigation and the persons responsible for this recent death will be arrested. No-one has the right to take anyone's life," Commissioner Kulunga said.
"While I encourage the local community to continue to assist police capture the remaining attackers I urge you not to take the law into you own hands.
"Let the law deal with them."
One of the suspect was caught in Salamaua while the other three were caught in Wau.
While two of the men involved in the attack remain at large Com Kulunga said some 30 police personnel from Morobe Province will soon arrive in the area to pursue the remaining fugitives.
"While the attack has done a lot of damage to the country in general and to some sections of the local Wau-Bulolo economy which depends on trekkers, we must not forget the dedication, commitment, loyalty and professionalism of all Papua New Guineans involved, including the local porters who defended the trekkers with their lives and the police in the initial response and rescue operations.