EVICTION OF ILLEGAL MADANG SETTLERS HAS BEGUN

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MADANG, Papua New Guinea (Radio Australia - January 1, 1998)---The eviction of illegal settlers in the northern New Guinea coastal town of Madang has begun.

If all goes well, The National newspaper reports, about eight-thousand settlers are expected to leave Madang for their home villages over the next several weeks.

The bulk of the squatters are people from the six rural districts of Madang province.

Since the provincial government first announced, last July, its intention to evict people illegally using state land, a total of 8,865 settlers have volunteered to return to their home villages.

Officials from the Madang administration have spent the last two weeks finalizing the list and making transport arrangements.

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