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Papua New Guineans are in deep mourning following the passing of Sir Michael Somare-the first Prime Minister.
He succumbed to death at 12 midnight Thursday, February 25 after battling pancreatic cancer diagnosed just recently.
Prime Minister James Marape who was a young politician and minister under the Prime Minister ship of Sir Michael Somare when he began his political career has swiftly put together a parliamentary committee to liaise with the Somare family and accord Sir Michael a state funeral.
Marape also announced to the media on Friday there will be two weeks of mourning with Monday 1st March 2021 declared a public holiday-it was immediately gazetted.
Scenes of mourning have surfaced from cities to villages, lowlands to the highlands.
A rural village at Numbo local level government in East Sepik, people upon hearing the news of the passing of a great man beat the ‘garamut’ and raised the PNG flag.
In the Sepik region, it was common when someone passes on, the garamut is beaten.
In the Obura Wonenara district in East Highlands, people stayed up all night mourning.
In Port Moresby, quite a remarkable scene, students from the University of Papua New Guinea led by the East Sepik students carried a banner with words of condolence and walked from Garden Hills on Wagani Drive to the Somare’s residence at 4 Mile, Boroko.
They were met by children Betha and Arthur who acknowledged the students.
Arthur spoke to the students that the family appreciated late Sir Michael was not only a father to them but the nation.
Their mum, Lady Veronica has suffered from stroke as well with one side paralysed and they desire to mourn privately at least for a day and they will then offer the body to the state.
Prime Minister James Marape has told the media they will liaise with the family for funeral arrangements and reading from his statements, the state is willing to spend something to give the first Prime Minister are well deserved respect during funeral.