PNG BANDITS ATTACK UTILITY COMPANY WORKERS

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Power line repairmen suffer serious injuries

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Sept. 30, 2008) - PNG Power Ltd field officers have decided not to tend to blackouts or faulty lines after 4:30 p.m.

They made this known in two letters written to the PNG Power acting chief executive officer Tony Koiri and management on Monday. Their actions follow an incident that occurred last Friday where four of their field workers who were attending to a blackout call were attacked by criminals at Saraga, Six Mile.

Santee Margis, the general secretary of the PNG Energy Workers Association which the field officers are members of, confirmed this yesterday.

He said that two PNG Power field officers sustained serious injuries in the attack.

"One was shot in his left leg and his finger chopped off while his colleague is nursing injuries to his head," Mr. Margis said.

He said the union was concerned that the officers were not helped to get medical help by the PNG Power management who had sent them out on duty. He said the officer who had pellets in his leg throughout the weekend would be operated on today at PMGH. He said relatives of the officer had paid PGK300 [US$120] to assist the operation to remove pellets from his leg.

Margis said a similar incident also occurred recently at Tokarara which was not addressed by PNG Power management.

PNG Power Port Moresby staff unions comprising the field officers who are also members of the PNG Energy Workers Association and PEA-PNG Power Ltd branch sent a letter to the acting chief executive officer Tony Koiri and operations manager John Tangit on Monday after holding a lunch hour meeting.

They have resolved not to work after hours for the following:

Meanwhile, Mr. Koiri confirmed that their customers in the Six Mile area and the Magi Highway had been left without power since Friday evening after PNG Power workers were attacked by criminals in the Six Mile area.

Koiri said in a statement yesterday that the attack was not isolated but a growing trend.

"These acts are totally unacceptable and PNG Power will not hesitate to withdraw personnel and services from the area if the security of their staff is threatened," he said.

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