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.