DUSK-TO-DAWN CURFEW IMPOSED IN PORT MORESBY

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (June 28, 2001 – The National)---As the National Capital District limped back to normalcy yesterday after a day of killing, rioting and looting, a dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed beginning last night but police have said it will not officially come into place until tonight.

However, the main development, aimed at appeasing grieving relatives of those killed and minimizing an angry backlash, was Police Minister Jimson Sauk's announcement that an investigation will be conducted into the deaths of the three university students and to establish the circumstances which triggered the violent uprising and subsequent destruction of properties.

And University of PNG Vice-Chancellor Professor Les Eastcott expressed his sympathy for the families of the students who died in the aftermath of the student protest but also confirmed that students will now return to classes by no later than Monday next week.

Long queues formed outside city shops, service stations and banks that opened yesterday for much needed food, fuel and cash following disruptions to services on Monday and Tuesday.

People stayed away from work for the second straight day due to fear of further rioting and also because the public transport system had come to a standstill.

The other major development yesterday was Cabinet's imposing of a two-week 7 p.m.-to-5 a.m. curfew aimed at hastening the return of order in the city.

Also yesterday, acting Defense Force commander Brigadier General Carl Marlpo urged the public to refrain from soliciting support from soldiers. In Mount Hagen, grieving relatives of the slain students who tried to riot were dispersed by police.

Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta said the implementation of the curfew would be determined by acting Police Commissioner Joseph Kupo as he monitors and assesses the situation throughout the NCD.

"I urge all city residents to remain indoors during the stated hours of the curfew," Sir Mekere said.

Mr. Kupo said, "The curfew will give us teeth to effectively control the movement of people on the streets of Port Moresby. Loiterers will be restricted and police will be out in full force to enforce the curfew which commences (last) tonight."

He said due to the emergency situation, proper curfew passes could not be processed in time but exceptions will be granted to night shift workers and emergency service providers.

He said employees must show some form of identification to police, warranting their movement after 7 p.m. Proper passes will be organized in the next few days.

Minister Sauk expressed sympathy for the grieving relatives and assured them that investigations would be conducted into the deaths.

About the curfew:

 

BODIES OF TWO UPNG STUDENTS IDENTIFIED

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (June 28, 2001 – The National)---Two of the three dead students of the University of Papua New Guinea have been identified. They are Steven Kil, a third year law student, and Simon Noki, a second year Arts student. Both were from the Western Highlands province.

The identity of the third victim is being withheld until his family has been informed.

Five other students are under medical attention at the Port Moresby General Hospital. They are: Dawa Abu -- third year law, Bill Kapen --fourth year commerce, Alex Tongayu -- fourth year law, David Kui, fourth year science and Michael Kawi, first year business.

In another incident yesterday morning, angry students rushed an EM TV news crew on the campus, chased away the TV news team and burned their vehicle, a 10-seater bus.

Hundreds of protesters and sympathizers met with student leaders outside the Port Moresby General Hospital yesterday in a show of respect for the dead and to plan their next course of action.

They plan to petition Governor-General Sir Silas Atopare to dissolve Parliament and for a commission of inquiry to be appointed to investigate the deaths.

The students are seeking the services of a human rights lawyer to assist them in court proceedings against the Government.

In the UPNG campus, it was a "black day" of mourning for scores of students, lecturers, and auxiliary staff of the university. Dressed in black, many had their faces smeared with mud and charcoal and ashes in a traditional Highlands show of mourning. There was weeping and wailing by students and sympathizers regional groups (Southern, Mamose, Highlands and New Guinea Islands). Many cried with their hands on their heads and skirted the front forum area, joined by supporting mourners from around the city.

The national airline, Air Niugini, has offered to transport the bodies of the dead students and their relatives free of charge to their hometowns.

"This will be done on a free of charge basis as a gesture of goodwill in these difficult times for the PNG community," said Air Niugini chief executive officer Peter Roberts.

Meanwhile, Coroner Minty Mae yesterday appealed to the relatives of the dead students to contact her office and give the identities of the deceased in order for her to begin her inquiry.

Mrs. Mae said she was unable to go to the hospital to examine the bodies because of disruptions to services by protesters. She will conduct a coroner's inquest as soon she is ready.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

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