PNG Government deploys troops, police to secure gas project

PHOTO: Police and soldiers in Papua New Guinea wait to board a flight to the Hela Province highlands. (ABC News: Eric Tlozek)

Police and soldiers in Papua New Guinea wait to board a flight to the Hela Province highlands. (ABC News: Eric Tlozek)

Eric Tlozek | ABC News | 9 January 2017

The Papua New Guinea Government has deployed troops and police to stop gun violence near the country’s biggest resources project.

About 150 police and soldiers are being deployed in Hela Province in the PNG highlands in response to a spike in tribal violence that has left dozens of people dead in recent months.

The security forces have been told to seize and destroy illegal weapons, after police raised concerns about a build-up of high-powered guns.

The callout is also to secure the PNG liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, which has been disrupted recently by incursions and blockades from disgruntled landowners.

The chief secretary to the Government Isaac Lupari said the security operation was aimed at stabilising the province.

“We’ve got a law and order problem up in Hela,” he said.

“What do you do when people are running around with guns, causing havoc? [They] have no respect for human life.

“Services have been affected as a result, kids are not going to school, mums are not getting medical attention.

“The Government has been responsible and decided we’d send in a special operation to restore law and order.”

The security operation is aimed at stabilising the province, the Government says. (ABC News: Eric Tlozek)

The security operation is aimed at stabilising the province, the Government says. (ABC News: Eric Tlozek)

The full deployment will involve about 300 people, and will include public servants from the law and justice sector.

It coincides with an amnesty on illegal firearms.

Mr Lupari said securing the PNG LNG project was also a critical aim of the deployment.

“We’ve got a very important project that is located there,” he said.

“It supports the economy, employs thousands of Papua New Guineans, so we’ve got to restore law and order.”

Landowners of the project area are still waiting for royalties, development levies and dividends to be paid and some claim the Government is not honouring the original project agreement.

But the Government says the payments have been held up because some landowners obtained a court order preventing further identification of beneficiaries.

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3 Comments

Filed under Human rights, Papua New Guinea

3 responses to “PNG Government deploys troops, police to secure gas project

  1. Pingback: Advocacy group forewarned of LNG violence in Hela | Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

  2. Sii Gates

    Just too bad. As long as the jelly-back selfish politicians remain in Waigani “haus-tambaran”, LOs & citizens will remain as spectators, scavengers & beggars feeding on crumbs in your own God-supplied resource-rich PNG.!

  3. Pingback: Hela ‘no Bougainville’, says former PNG defence force chief Singirok | Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

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