Defense Force Being Mobilized In PNG Province To Stop Tribal Fighting

Priority is gun disarmament through surrender moratorium and police action

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, December 16, 2016) – The  National Executive Council has approved a call-out of Defence Force and Police that will cost taxpayers K11 million [$US3,382,000] to quell tribal fighting in Hela Province.

In light of continuous and sporadic tribal fights fueled by the use of heavy firearms, the NEC decided yesterday that there would be a special security operations jointly supported by defence and police. Finance Minister James Marape, whose Tari-Pori electorate is affected, had pushed for the full powers of state of emergency but was not possible due to time required for Parliament approval as well as legal implications.

Mr Marape said he was happy that the callout would enable additional military and police personnel in Hela to arrest those who felt their guns could make them continue to break laws and become murderers.

"My district will offer the personnel all the support in this call out of defence and police, and I personally will request operation of gun clean up to take place first in my villages and in my electorate.

"From December 17 to February 28, next year, we will have a guns surrender moratorium and after that based on intelligence we will go in after those who have guns. We are presently working to increase penalty for those in possession of illegal firearms.

"The so-called gun-toting cowboys of Hela, your days are numbered. We will come after you and I personally will be right behind police and army in this exercise. Return those guns if you want to evade the fury of government because this callout will run from now until December 31, 2017."

National Government has allocated K11 million [$US3,382,000] to start this work and it is anticipated that next Friday, Mr Marape would preside over official presentation of callout personnel in Tari.

In that occasion also the National Government will also present funds for Tari-Nipa road sealing as well as Tari-Komo road sealing.

"My appeal to all Hela including the elites and leaders of our community is to rally behind this effort to minimise lawlessness caused by guns in our society.

"This appeal also goes to my two colleague MPs for Komo-Margarima and Koroba-Kopiago to leave their quest for provincial power which had added fuel to a high tension province. Go back to your respective electorates as I will do to my electorates and let’s restore law and order."

PNG Post-Courier
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