People of Papua New Guinea

…suspends province govt for nine-months

By Bartholomew Madukwe with Agency report

Papua New Guinea has declared a nine-month state of emergency in the capital of the Southern Highlands province, Mendi, and suspended its government for the duration.

This was following a violence that ravaged the remote interior of the resource-rich Pacific nation, where tribal and land disputes overlay regional politics, reports Reuters.

It was gathered that during the week, armed crowds, angered over the failure of a court challenge to a regional governor’s election, burned an airplane, looted a warehouse and torched buildings in Mendi.

According to a spokesman for the provincial disaster, Barclay Tenza, looters ransacked a warehouse of earthquake relief supplies during the Mendi rioting and took all the foodstuffs.

Many communities are still receiving aid after February’s 7.5-magnitude earthquake killed 100 people, testing the finances and capacity of one of the world’s poorest countries.

ARMY DEPLOYED TO RESTORE ORDER

Papua New Guinea government said it is sending armed forces to its rugged highlands to restore order after rioters went on a rampage of looting and burning.

Speaking on the development on Friday,  on his website, Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, said, “The actions of reckless individuals damaging property in Mendi has disgusted the nation. Police will investigate every agitator, and every person who was involved in the unrest.”

O’Neill explained that a former policeman and acting administrator in the province, Thomas Eluh,  has been given constitutional emergency powers.

“Police, including a mobile squad, were immediately deployed, along with criminal investigators,” O’Neill added.

More than 200 PNG Defence Force troops are to be flown to the city of Mount Hagen on Saturday before making their way to Mendi, media outlet Loop PNG said.