Bougainville's Buka in flames

THIRTY-FOUR houses belonging to government officers were burnt down and police were fired upon and attacked with stones by an armed mob in Buka, the interim capital of Bougainville Island, at the weekend.
Bougainville's Buka in flames Bougainville's Buka in flames Bougainville's Buka in flames Bougainville's Buka in flames Bougainville's Buka in flames

Francis Tokura

Staff Reporter

The weekend of terror was aggravated by opportunists who joined the mob to loot and steal. The mob also opened fire on police, The National newspaper reported.
Autonomous Region of Bougainville police commander assistant commissioner Francis Tokura said police were attacked by the mob after four murder suspects were arrested.
The 34 houses torched on Saturday morning were in the old Government Compound.
"Four of these houses belonged to police officers and their families on Sohano Island," Tokura said.
"The mob also ransacked and looted valuables and properties, including stealing two outboard motor engines belonging to the police before burning down the houses.
"Police did intervene to try to stop the mob but we were outnumbered and were confronted by the mob that was also armed with high-powered weapons.
"They later moved to Buka town and opened fired at the police station. They then continued stoning vehicles, resulting in damaged vehicles."
Tokura said they had detained an off-duty police officer for allegedly joining the mob to stone police vehicles.
"This situation started on Friday night when a Buin man went to the old compound on Sohano Island to see another man who is believed to have owed him money," he said.
"A fight broke out between the men and some suspects residing in the compound joined in and bashed the Buin man.
"Police then intervened and took the Buin man to the hospital. But unfortunately he died from his injuries at the hospital.
"So we went to Sohano and arrested the suspects who are now detained."
Tokura said that the mob took advantage of this situation, went to the old compound, looted, ransacked 34 houses and burnt them down.