(POST COURIER) – A 10-year-old girl from Savri village in the Wesan area of the remote Goroka district, Eastern Highlands provine is the lone survivor of the murder of her immediate family last month.
Sindia Joe escaped a family murder which took place on May 15 on the bush road in Megabo.
She lost her father Joe Leky, mother Amesera Joe, 13-year-old brother Remon Joe, eight-year-old sister Nani Joe and five-year-old sister Mamaropa Joe.
The murderers are believed to be related to the mother, and were identified only as Avovo and Pinat, police said in a statement.
The sole survivor said that she and her family had been living in the mother’s village at Savri for six years.
Due to some problems between her father and her mother’s brothers (uncles) which she had no idea about, they had to move back to her father’s village at Katagu.
According to relatives of the father, tribal fighting in his home village six years earlier had forced him and his family to migrate to live at his wife’s village at Savri.
Sindia Joe said as children, they were told by their father that they were going leave Savri and return to Napax or Katagu in the Unggai-Bena district.
According to her, the family had left Savri on May 15 about 11pm and while taking a rest on their journey along the Megabo bush road, they came across the two men.
“The two men asked us where our mother was and then went on to kill my father using bows and arrows,” the witness said in Tok Pisin.
“My brother Remon tried to stop them, appealing to them to leave father alone but he was killed in the act.
“They then got me and told me to lead them to where my mother was, but I managed to escape and hide in the bushes where I prayed to God in fear of my life.
“The next morning I went to the same spot where we rested but all I could find was blood drops on the ground.
“Some villagers from Megabo found me and took me in and then a mother from the Seventh-Day Adventist Church took me in and looked after me for two weeks before my relatives came and got me.”
A community leader from Savri, Neskefe Aigawa, described the killing of the family, involving the three children, as inhumane.
He said the incident had been brought to the attention of provincial leaders and police. It is understood that police investigations are underway to find the root cause of the killing with the suspects identified by the witness.
The survivor is said to be traumatised and is currently living with family members.