11 Feb 2003

Papua New Guinea police continue patrolling the streets of Lae

6:50 pm on 11 February 2003

Police are continuing to patrol the streets of Papua New Guinea's second largest city, Lae, following clashes by two warring groups which left two people dead and 40 homes torched.

Chief superintendent, Simon Kauba, says two drunk men from Mt Hagen were responsible for setting off the incident when they attacked somebody from the Menyamya tribe.

He says the governor has firmly turned down a request from the Menyamya tribe that Western Highlanders be evicted from the area.

Mr Kauba says the situation is under control but 80 to 100 police will remain in the fighting zone for the next three months.

"We had sufficient police presence there since from day one. We've still go people there. The area is declared a fighting zone so we have got sufficient men on the ground just to be able to monitor and assess the situation and also to ensure the declaration is properly - you know - monitored."

Chief superintendent Kauba says leaders of both groups have agreed to a peace conference later this week which community officers are setting up.