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Bougainville writer Ishmael Palipal injured in DWU fighting

Ishmael is comforted by mates after being attackedLEONARD FONG ROKA

A REGULAR contributor of poetry and articles to PNG Attitude and Bougainville 24 websites, Ishmael Palipal from Koromira in Central Bougainville, was amongst the students who were killed and injured in a confrontation near Divine Word University in Madang late on Friday night.

The fight started after lectures on Friday when the deceased East Sepik man, Nigel Laki, a third year student in Communication Arts, set off for a few drinks with fellow students in the neighbouring suburb of Nabasa.

The group is said to have moved between a residential home where they lived and a liquor outlet where they were ttacked by what are described as “criminals”.

The girlfriend of the deceased and another male student fled the scene fearing for their lives.

After the shocking news engulfed the university, students gathered on campus where they were addressed by various community authorities.

But students were reluctant to be persuaded since harassment by local Gav Stoa settlers was a long-standing issue and the authorities had been unable to deal with it. This weekend it led to the death of a student.

On Saturday morning at 6am, students with bags of stones, grass knives, crowbars and slings marched to the Gav Stoa settlement, which is situated at the main gate of Divine Word University, to strike back but police and university leaders intervened and blocked them at the boom gate.

At Gav Stoa, Sepik men had long prepared for the student raid on their illegally occupied slum, their home for many decades.

The warring sides exchanged stone throwing at the gate for some three hours with injuries on both sides. While the student supply of missiles dried up and needed regular restocking, the squatter settlers’ stocks never went dry thus they maintained their positions just 40-50 meters from the university gates.

It was in this confrontation that Ishmael Palipal, a third year Social and Religious Studies student, was filming when a stone knocked him unconscious to the ground and he was dragged to safety by a fellow Bougainvillean.

Palipal was hit by a stone on the right side of the jaw and lower auricle. He was taken to the university clinic where he had medication and stitches to a cut beneath the auricle.

He is in recuperating in a stable condition. 


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Sioni Ruma

Sad to hear a lecturer say, I couldn't stop students from fighting.

A lecturer could do better. I attended DWU and know how students are.

Samuel Roth

All suspects (about 4 to 5) captured and locked behind bars in Jomba cell. Thanks to the community; both Gavstoa and Nabasa.
That is the latest from Uni admin, Paias Bokorum.

Hauskrai continues, funeral service tomorrow, body leaves for Pom then Wewak (Ambunti)for burial.

Rest In Peace Bata Nigel.

Rozabelle Hota

It sure was a very sad and quiet weekend for the DWU students.

May his soul (the late Nigel) rest in peace.

And a speed recovery to Ismael

Maureen Wari

Igat campus security or police lo displa hap blo Madang?

Obviously the mob (settlers) was out to win the battle. So like Aloysius, I'd say it is wise not to challenge them as they will be 10 times better than the students in this game, their game.

Unfortunately Ishmael was in the way presumably to take some pictures for a good report here or elsewhere later on. Here are signs of a brave person who wants a good eyewitness story as it is happening.

Don't give up Ishmael because of the wounds. We know a lot about Ukraine, Syria and Egypt unrest because there are curious and brave journalists out there probably also having a few scratches!

Wishing you complete recovery, Ishmael.

Michael Dom

Speedy recovery friend Ishmael.

Leonard Roka

Going stealth for your kill is much safer and rewards well but just hated this rowdy mob marching like Roman soldiers where your foe know best your position.

Took a few bouncing pebble missiles on my lower legs and decided to flee from the scene.

Bernard Yegiora

Really difficult to control a rowdy mob.I felt powerless on Friday night, could not stop my students from fighting.

Mrs Barbara Short

Wishing you a speedy recovery, Ishmael.

Aloysius Laukai

The students should not have taken the law into their hands in the first place. So sad at this situation. One dead and several wounded.

Tina Jona

Get rid of these illegal slums and the DWU students can do their studies without outside interference.

That wasn't the first incident. Clashes between students and illegal settlers have been an ongoing problem for years.

"Beautiful Madang" provincial government authorities should make an effort to clean up their town. Illegal slums in every corner of the town is sure a real eyesore.

"Beautiful Madang" should learn from Old Rabaul (before the volcano) and now Kokopo town.

Thank God we don't have illegal settlers in East New Britain.

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