PORT MORESBY - One of the victims of Tuesday’s attack along the Black Cat trail in the Morobe Province has told of how he witnessed the killing of a team member as they were held hostage.
Povi Sovi, from Salamaua, said he lay speechless as the man beside him was hacked to death by the criminals.
“The man next to me was cut on head and his brains spilled out in front of me.”
Sovi was forced to lie on his belly along with the other porters. At first, he thought they were going to rob them and let them go. But in an instant, all that changed.
Australian team leader, Christie King, who confronted the criminals, was struck on the arms and body.
Povi said the porters and tourists outnumbered their attackers three to one and seeing a possible threat, some of the men armed with bush knives began hacking indiscriminately at the porters who had been forced to lie on the ground.
Povi was slashed on his arms and the lower part of his legs. Then, almost as if they were shocked by their own brutality, the other gang members told one of their own who was continuing to hack at the porters to stop.
“The others yelled at him to stop.”
Another porter, Dick Reuben, who is also admitted at Lae’s Angau Hospital, was also cut on the arms and legs. He may not be able to walk anymore.
Whilst on the track his wife gave birth to baby girl. He was told the good news hours after he was admitted to hospital.
He has made a special request to Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill to improve the mobile network coverage and health services along the Black Cat trail.
The attack has again brought strong condemnation from political leaders.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister, the Morobe Governor and the Bulolo MP, all expressed anger at the manner in which the tourists were attacked and porter killed.
Meanwhile, members of the MS13 mobile squad unit have begun a search for the suspects.
According to police sources, the identities of the men are known and arrests are expected to be made soon. [EMTV]