Allegations Of Illegal Firearm, Drug Smuggling Casts Pall Over 2017 PNG Elections

Gulf Province called 'gateway for smuggling'

By Kevin Teime – Post Courier Live 

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Nov. 24, 2016) – The 2017 National General Election in most parts of Gulf and the Highlands Provinces is under threat after it was revealed that illegal smuggling and exchanging of high powered guns and drugs was common in that part of the region.

Particularly Kikori in the Gulf province is now dubbed as a gateway for smuggling of illegal drugs and high powered weapons putting a threat to the running of the 2017 National election in the country.

Kikori police station commander Sergeant Ananai Omai revealed that Kikori and some other parts of Gulf Province has been a hub for smuggling high powered guns and illegal drug since there is no logistic support from police headquarters as well as provincial police department to support police officers in the district.

Gulf Provincial Police Commander Silas Wayagure in responding to the plea for support by Kikori police officers said the fact of matter was that in most outstations of Gulf Province; there have been either few police officers or no officers at all and this has brought more concern to the people.

PPC Wayagure said with the Gulf Police department being under-staff with no support logistics such illegal smuggling and exchange activities were evitable given the situation.

PPC Wayagure also revealed an alarming rate of police personal to current population as one is to 300 people compared, and this out numbers the number of police officers who do not have logistics support as well to monitor the law and order problem in the Province.

“Today marks a special day for me. Today will mark my first anniversary being here in Gulf Province and truly I can tell you that with over 300,000 in population in Gulf Province; we are overpowered by the number of people living in the province. It is sad but it’s true,” the PPC said.

“I do not have proper office in Kerema where I was posted to do work. I do work and sleep in my office. Like the uniforms I am wearing, I had to buy it myself and it didn’t come from the Police department. I do not know but this is not right and there is something wrong somewhere within the system,” PPC Wayagure said. 

Southern regional police commander and Assistant Police Commissioner Allan Kundi in elaborating on the trend currently faced in Kikori said, “Kikori, we got some history. I saw it already and experienced that when I was a Southern commander for three to four years. People have expressed what’s happening here.” 

“Illegal activities are happening because they are taking advantage of our highway from Kikori to Sembirigi in Erave, Southern Highlands Province this is now open to the public and they take the advantage of this and our river where with the modern technology, people are using seaplane or sometimes known as ‘bat boat’ (Amphibious aircraft- Airplane that lands on sea and land) to do all these illegal drug trafficking and such,” AC Kundi said.

“We saw that crime problem is increasing, you all have witnessed one of our young officer was shot dead here. We have serious law and order problem here,” the Assistant police commissioner said.

AC Kundi said with the Police department having no funding, there is most likely that police officers to conduct next year’s general election will be stationed at their own provinces and districts.

People are now in fear whether the 2017 election will be free and fair from threats and intimidation with the current open gateway to the nation for illegal high powered weapons and drugs have been smuggled into the country on day light which could be in use during the election period.

“We do not have the man power and we do not have the logistics such as more guns and more police officers to support us on this.

We need more support and I urge the Police commissioner to look into this,” Sergeant Omai said this when thanking Mineral Resource Development Company (MRDC) in particularly Augustine Mano for donating the new vehicle to Kikori police to use for their law and order runs.

PNG Post-Courier
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