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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, August 31) - Tari Town Mayor George Tagobe wants the Australian state and federal police deployed in Southern Highlands Province immediately, similarly to what is being planned for Bougainville.

He warned that the province is on the verge of complete lawlessness and administration collapse.

Southern Highlands provides about 60 percent of the national revenue through various resource projects in the province.

Tagobe also urged the provincial and national governments to buy the promised vehicles for the police mobile unit in Tari, which has not been deployed because promises earlier this year have not materialized.

General duty policemen in Tari also do not have a vehicle.

Meanwhile, he also endorsed comments made by Petroleum Resources Gobe chairman Philip Kende that people were illegally buying and stocking weapons in the province.

He condemned politicians who were playing down the weapons situation, saying leaders and their benefactors were stocking up weapons to be used, particularly in the elections.

Tagobe said it is an open secret that leaders are amassing illegal weapons to use in the 2007 elections.

September 1, 2004

The National:

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