72 in custody over religion


SEVENTY-TWO people are in custody following an attack and burning incident at Raro village, Roviana Lagoon, Western province.

The incident occurred on July 7.

Assistant Commissioner Crime and Intel Patricia Leta during a press conference yesterday said the motive behind the incident is an ongoing row and differences between two sects of a religious group there.

“It has come to a point that their differences escalate and those from group A attacked those from group B.”

She said police in Noro, Munda and Gizo mounted a joint operation and attended the scene, questioned and interviewed the 72 people and took them to Gizo for further dealing.

She said they are charged with unlawful assembly, rioters, enduring buildings and arson; however their court dates are yet to be confirmed by the investigators, currently the suspects are remanded awaiting their court appearance.

Leta said three dwelling houses were completely burnt, three other permanent houses were looted and destroyed, leaving the affected families homeless with no food and shelter.

She adds, during the attack there were five casualties who were taken to Munda hospital for treatment, one of them due to serious injuries – that person is currently admitted at the Helena Goldie Hospital.

Leta calls on the leaders and chiefs of those two groups to assist police in their investigation.

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