PNG Official Warns Over Land Gifting, Leasing In Lae

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Settler population increases linked to ‘unnecessary’ land distribution

By Ellen Tiamu

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Dec. 24, 2012) – Traditional landowners in Lae are continuing to give land to settlers despite concerns over lawlessness in the city, a public servant says.

A senior public servant from Ahi said in Lae on Saturday, a Kamkumung landowner was continuing to distribute land in the main village, near the new village cemetery and at the Boinamo gravel crushing site.

People from the six Ahi villages of Lae, the traditional landowners of city land, have been leasing and selling their land to settlers, causing the settlement population to spiral out of control.

The new settlers at Kamkumung are from the highlands, with the village now recording highest number of settlements in the city.

Morobe Governor Kelly Naru warned the Ahi people, especially those from Kamkumung, to refrain from unnecessarily distributing their land for meager monthly rentals.

Settlements have been identified as the main breeding grounds for lawlessness in Lae.

Some city residents have complained that landowners were allowing too many people to settle on their land.

"Too many unemployed people end up in the settlements and landowners are unable to control law and order problems and ethnic violence and run to police every time things get out of hand," the public servant said.

"They should face the consequences of housing thugs and trouble-makers on their land."

Lae is facing ongoing tension caused by people of different provinces living in settlements, with police, leaders and government authorities unable to fully quell ethnic violence.

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