PNG's Mt Hagen In Lock-Down Following Days Of Election Related Violence

Airlines, banks, fuel distributors, supermarkets, trucking all adversely affected

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 27, 2017) – Business activities in the country’s third largest city, Mt Hagen, have stalled following days of election-related violence.

The services adversely affected since Sunday included the airlines, banks, fuel distributors, supermarkets and trucking companies.

Companies have also indicated that the amount of loss to business had been substantial.

Security has been boosted to stop general lawlessness in the city following disputes over 28 ballot boxes for Hagen Open, which incumbent William Duma won without these counts.

Fuel supplier Puma Energy said its Mt Hagen operations are affected by the lockdown because they were unable to service customers not only in Mt Hagen but Wabag, Enga Province, as well.

Puma Energy also reported that its aviation refuelling operations were not able to supply fuel to aircraft following the closure of Kagamuga International Airport since Monday.

The city could face power disruptions as fuel to supply PNG Power generators dry up in the next few days.

PNG Air and Air Niugini confirmed yesterday that they have suspended all flights, and passengers who have booked flights had been advised to either reroute their bookings through other ports to continue to Port Moresby.

For PNG Air, this is the second route being suspended.

“In terms of passengers who have been affected by the disruption, we are giving them the option to reroute their bookings without any fees required to assist them where we can,” PNG Air chief commercial officer Paul Abbot said.

“The cost to our business is substantial. In terms of the bigger picture however, the cost to Mt Hagen and the Highlands region by not having an operational airport will be immense.

“In regard to Losuia, I believe the Milne Bay provincial government will be looking into assessing the damage.

“This impacts everyone in the community in some way, so it is very unfortunate that it has reached this stage,” Mr Abbot said.

Meanwhile, chief executive officer of Mapai group of companies Jacob Luke has also condemned the murder of two policemen in Enga Province last Saturday.

He made this call after disgruntled relatives of the deceased held up trucks belonging to Mapai and blocked off the road for traffic to access.

Mr Luke expressed disappointment that the acts of foolishness by assailants who took the lives of these officers have affected innocent people and businesses in the highlands region.

PNG Post-Courier
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