PNG VILLAGE DEMANDS PIGS, CASH FROM GAS DEVELOPERS

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Compensation for killings by project supporters

By Harlyne Joku PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 11, 2010) - Porebada villagers yesterday demanded 50 pigs and 700,000 kina [US$257,000] immediately to them by the developers of the Papua New Guinea Liquefied Natural Gas (PNG LNG) project, the State, and Boera villagers before peace talks start on the deaths of four of its villagers two weeks ago.

"Failure to meet these two specific demands within the next 14 days will jeopardize the peace process," the villagers warned in a six-page petition which was presented to Central Governor Alphonse Moroi and Kairuku Hiri MP Paru Aihi yesterday at Porebada village.

The petition titled the "Porebada Community Log of Demands" is related to the murders on January 30 after a bloody clash. The clash has also resulted in innocent villagers from Boera fleeing from the village and seeking refuge in the neighboring Papa and Lealea villages.

Lohia Koani, who read the petition on behalf of the Porebada villagers, described the following day as "Black Sunday", the most tragic day of Porebada’s history which had created a crisis that would need to be resolved by all parties thoroughly.

The clash resulted from an incident earlier the same day where some supporters of the LNG project from Boera village alleged to have been under the influence of liquor, belted up and harassed Porebada villagers who continued to work in their gardens where the proposed LNG road is to be constructed. According to the villagers the argument related to the issue of the traditional land boundaries belonging to Porebada people and benefit sharing agreement of the LNG project.

An identified vehicle, a fifth element driven by a Boera man and allegedly with a son of former Kairuku Hiri MP, Sir Moi Avei inside, brought boys from Boera village in several truckloads.

It is alleged they harassed and belted up ordinary people working in their gardens and others who went to cut posts for a house.

The boys from Boera were reportedly intoxicated with alcohol and possibly drugs. "The attack took place along the Dabure and Kerere sections of the corridor where an argument over land erupted," Mr. Koani said.

Sir Moi’s house in Boera was burnt down and four Porebada men were killed as a result. Sir Moi lost his seat at the last election after having been a government minister.

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