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Papua New Guinea

“Enough is enough” – Stop the violence

The damage to the town of Mendi in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea is estimated to be in the millions of dollars as buildings, homes, infrastructure and vehicles were torched over the weekend.

All of this as supporters of election candidates clashed in a senseless frenzy of violence causing thousands of people to flee the area. The number of casualties are yet to be confirmed.

According to police the solution for long lasting peace is removing individuals from society who orchestrate such violent acts.

PNG police commissioner David Manning believes that there has been too much senseless violence provoked by people who are wanting to get into power.

The damage to the town of Mendi in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea is estimated to be in the millions of dollars as buildings, homes, infrastructure and vehicles were torched over the weekend. Picture: Royal PNG Constabulary

“Enough is enough, we have gone past the stage of negotiations for peace. We are now required to enforce the Rule of Law, and it starts with the list of candidates. We have credible intelligence and sufficient evidence to link them with the ongoing violence in the town of Mendi and surrounding districts,” he said in a statement.

“Peace negotiations is a short term measure, true lasting peace is when we remove individuals from society and subject them to the rule of law. Only then will we have long lasting peace.

“We will be looking at all facets of the ongoing clashes in Mendi. The source of firearms, ammunition, funding, and any individual or business assets used to support this ongoing clash.”

This has led the PNG police to say that four prominent leaders including sitting Governor William Powi, and his rivals Joseph Kobol, Peter Nupiri and Bernard Kaku were allegedly responsible for inciting the violence in Mendi.

Machete in their hands, supporters in Mendi, Southern Highlands outside a counting centre last week. Picture: Royal PNG Constabulary

Police said the four men allegedly allowed their supporters to engage in armed conflict with rival candidates and supporters in Mendi.

The fights in Mendi are believed to have started after a group supporters armed with automatic guns took over a police station and broke into a container where ballot boxes were kept.

The ballot boxes were destroyed and what followed was a gun fight between the opposing candidates.

Prime Minister James Marape said a parliamentary committee will be established to look into the general elections and anyone implicated in inciting violence and practices that were not regarded as fair and free would be brought to task.

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He had a tough message and said investigations would begin into post-election practices, violence and crime in the Highlands and would be based in Mendi.

Mr Marape was also quick to point out to the people who were clashing on the ground that they were being used because the instigators are trying to ensure that they never face the brunt of the law.

In a turn of events, Mr Marape has instructed the police and defence forces to be in the highland areas until the end of the year to ensure investigation into the violence can take place and those implicated are charged.

1 Comment
  1. Junior Wata 3 months ago
    Reply

    Innocent houses of public servants in old compound were set into flame and the workers were living through the past 8 days with proper accommodation. Some of them have served the province about decades growing grey air there and here to stay and don’t deserve such to happen to them. I appeal to the PMJP government to swiftly look into their problems, relieve and restore normalcy. They can’t stay homeless. They have families and kids attending school. They themselves needs to resume work. Please build their houses back.

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