Escapee surrenders after 23 years

BY MIRIAM ZARRIGA

A CONVICTED murderer who fathered six children while on the run for 23 years surrendered to Correctional Services officers yesterday morning at Bomana jail, outside Port Moresby.

According to the exclusive report by Post-Courier, Aipit Balos, in his 40s, from Pyakin village in Laiagam district of Enga Province, is now likely to be charged with escaping from lawful custody.

aipit-balos-surrendersFormer escapee Aipit Balos (with bagpack) escorted by Correctional Services senior operations officer Ruben Manamb through the prison gate at Bomana in Port Moresby.

His surrender yesterday prompted Correctional Services Commissioner Andrew Waipo to appeal to the other 208 prison escapees nationwide to surrender to police.

Balos was charged with willful murder in Wabag in 1991 and jailed for 29 years and seven months. He was serving his sentence at Baisu jail in the Western Highlands when he contracted tuberculosis.

In 1994 Balos was transferred to Bomana jail to get treatment at Port Moresby General Hospital and in 1995 he became a fugitive when he was forcefully removed from the ward by a family member on August 16.

“They took me to a shop and locked me up there, and instead of killing me they got me a ticket and flew me back to Wabag where I have remained since 1995,” he said yesterday at the jail gates.

And with a smile he gathered his bag, walked back into Bomana jail, set it on the ground and stepped forward without a word to present himself to the warders.

Many of the warders, who would have started working after Balos had escaped, could only look on in shock when he was announced as an escapee who had returned after being on the run since 1995.

Mr Balos said that he had changed his life and was now more determined to serve his time and allow the court system in PNG to decide on his sentence. He was so determined to return to serve his term that he bought his own ticket to Port Moresby.

“I left Port Moresby and went back to Wabag where got I married and had six children, two of whom have since died.

“I turned my life around and proceeded to take part in church activities in which time I gave my life to the Lord.

“Turning myself in is a personal decision I made. Many of my family members have tried to persuade me from walking back to prison but I will stand by my decision.”

Before he could surrender, Balos was readmitted to Port Moresby General Hospital where he received treatment for tuberculosis. Cousin Sam Lyakin, who helped Balos return to Bomana, said the family could not talk him out of his decision to return to jail.

Mr Balos was processed by warders, smiled and said good bye to the media as he walked back into the maximum prison to serve his sentence which he would have completed in 2020 had he not escaped.

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