PNG reporter bashed up for helping young family

PORT MORESBY,03 OCTOBER 2018 (POST COURIER) – Post Courier newspaper reporter Michael Koma has been around.

For the past 20 years, the Highlands-based correspondent has seen it all, done it and trod a path off the beaten track bringing readers closer to the little people in rural PNG, their lives, their struggles and their simplicity.

And so he was not expecting the sort of treatment he received in Goroka on Monday, especially at the hospital.

Koma, who is the Goroka-based correspondent for the Post Courier was savagely attacked, beaten up badly and is now recovering at his home.

This is the same brave reporter who brought to you the sad tale of a family from remote Obura-Wonenara, who is going through their own dramatic trauma experiences.

Koma had organised an ambulance to move the Kema family and the body of their late son to be transported back to Obura-Wonenara when the ambulance he was travelling in was stopped by a group of men at the hospital morgue, he was dragged out and brutally bashed up without giving a hint as to the reason for the attack.

Koma received four stitches on his left eye and three stiches on his right eye, his lips were cut and suffered other serious injuries, which were treated at the Goroka General Hospital’s emergency and accident unit.

Koma did not know the reason for the attack but later found out that the group who had attacked him were angry that he was helping the Kema family, because of a past broken marriage between them (Lufas) and the Kema family.

Post-Courier editor Todagia Kelola and Goroka bureau manager Pearson Kolo condemned the attack and called for the public to respect the media and its employees

“Journalists keep everyone informed, educated and entertained, the media which include newspapers, radio and television, are the eyes and the mouth piece of the ordinary people, and they should be the last people to be attacked,” Kelola said.

Eastern Highlands police commander Superintendent David Seine Jr who was contacted by Kelola had given his assurance that when Koma files his complaint all the attackers would be rounded up and locked-up.

Early this year, a drunk group of men in Lae attacked Post-Courier’s Frankiy Kapin. The main perpetrator was identified as an employee of the Morobe Governor. He was locked up and appeared in court. The Governor Ginson Saonu later sacked the employee. In past years, news organisations and their employees have suffered various levels of harassment and attacks.

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