ON Easter eve most Christians attended their local churches to mark the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, while others use this opportunity to visit loved ones at home.
A young man from Jika tribe in the Western Highlands, an accountancy graduate from the University of Technology in 2014, came from a wealthy family background.
He started his own business at Four Mile in Lae and, as a young and determined man, he worked around the clock to ensure his firm became popular and profitable.
In Easter last year, he thought of taking a vacation and decided to kill two birds with one stone: visit his family at home and at the same time undertake some business in Mt Hagen.
The young man left home around 5pm and caught a taxi to Eriku to catch a night bus bound for Mt Hagen. He got into a coaster bus belonging to the Moka Tribe from around Mt Hagen.
The Moka and Jika tribes are well-known for being tribal enemies and highly competitive in terms of business, politics and wealth.
In the bus were a couple of other passengers from the Western Highlands, including a lass from the Moka tribe in her second year at Balob Teachers College in Lae. She would be visiting her parents at home and sat by herself in a window seat.
The man entered the bus and saw the vacant seat and moved towards it. He was struggling to sit next to her when, unfortunately, his elbow accidentally touched her breast.
He immediately apologised but the young Moka woman did not accept the apology.
“Are you crazy, you must be mad to touch my nipples,” she said, with a dark look.
“I did not mean to do that, it was my elbow as I tried to sit next to you,” he responded. “I am sorry for the inconvenience caused.”
But the young woman complained bitterly and loudly. Her comments were heard by other passengers in the bus, including the driver.
The driver and the boss crew of the bus were her tribesmen. She thought they would support her in her dressing down of The man who had offended her.
On the bus there were a man and a woman of higher calibre. They confronted the young girl and said, “Madam, it was by coincidence and he is a gentleman and humbly apologised to you.”
Then an argument erupted at Eriku central bus stop and continued for some time while the bus set its course for the Highlands Highway.
In the bus the girl was still complaining and arguing when the bus reached the Markham Valley towards Leron Bridge almost two hours later.
Crossing the bridge The young man told her, “Lady it’s a public disgrace that you argue bitterly with me. I did not mean to touch your nipple. Shall you accept my apology since we are travelling to the same destination.”
But she continued to berate him for another four hours until they reached the 24 hour market at Young Creek. The bus stopped and the passengers stepped out for a break.
By now he had run out of patience and followed the young woman to the dark end of Young Creek where he picked up a rock and hit her skull as hard as he could.
She fell without making any noise and he realised she was dead. He reported the issue to the boss crew and driver since they were her clansmen.
The young man then purchased a coffin box at the market and put the body inside the coffin which was hauled into the bus and placed across a seat.
As the passengers returned to the bus, he explained the situation.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I apologise for the inconvenience caused at this moment. I took her life to cease further complains and arguments. All of you are the witnesses of what led to the incident.
“I will meet all the costs of the corpse and compensation in Western Highlands’ culture. I hope there will be nothing happening along the way so we will travel safely to Mt Hagen and I will take the coffin to her parents and explain the situation without fear of retaliation,” he said with confidence.
Everyone in the bus was terrified. None made a comment but a few of them mumbled among themselves.
“I will ensure we take the coffin safe to her parents since we are from the same place,” said the driver with a sad face.
The bus set off for Mt Hagen with double blinkers indicating its emergency run.
In the early morning they arrived in Mt Hagen. The passengers were offloaded at the central bus stop while the crew, driver and the young man took the corpse to the girl’s parents.
Everyone gathered around and the driver explained the situation to the parents. They were filled with rage and decided to retaliate.
The driver and the crew reprimanded the parents and relatives and they asked The murdurer to give his views on the death of the young girl.
“I am from the Jika tribe. I did it out of frustration and am willing to meet all the costs surrounding her death as explained by the driver,” he said, adding that he would remit the costs within two weeks.
The driver drove him to his home village. He thanked the driver for mediating the situation.
Then he gathered his family and explained the incident. They were caught by surprise but the problem had happened. Out of fear for retaliation they contributed K150,000 with 40 pigs as compensation.
After two weeks, the compensation for the dead girl was paid.
It was a tragic story about a matter that got out of hand. Life is so precious.