PNG POLICE BUST 35 FOR TELECOM VANDALISM

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Warring villages turn frustration on facilities

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Aug. 29, 2008) – Police in Morobe have arrested and charged 35 men who were alleged to have vandalised Telilkom PNG’s telecommunication installations in the Bukawa area in the province.

The arrest of the men was viwed as a major break through for Telikom PNG and police since a nation-wide campaign was launched about vandalism of communication facilities and for police to deal with offenders.

Morobe provincial police commander Supt Peter Guinness said yesterday the men were arrested over the destruction of Mt Lusambu repeater station.

Supt Guinness said police went into the area recently and arrested those who were involved in vandalising the repeater station with its telecommunication equipment.

"The number of arrest is expected to increase in the next few weeks," he said. "And if they (police) find that the whole village is involved then everyone will be arrested and charged."

Supt Guinness said Telikom PNG has its own laws passed by an Act of Parliament to provide telecommunication services throughout the country and these laws would deal with the suspects.

"Telecommunication has its own law and if you break it, you will face the full force of that law,"he said.

Police reported that the vandalism at the telecommunication site was in relation to an internal dispute between two villages in the area.

Supt Guinness said when the villagers failed to reach an agreement, they turned their fustration on the communication facilities but it was not established if the dispute was over the land on which the facilities were built.

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