7 Mar 2003

Madang fears violence during mass squatter eviction

4:46 pm on 7 March 2003

Residents and businesses in Madang in Papua New Guinea are on the alert for possible violence caused by the planned eviction of 10-thousand squatters in the township.

The Post Courier newspaper reports that the eviction exercise by the Madang Provincial government will go ahead on despite requests by the Prime Minister that it be postponed.

The Madang Governor James Yali says squatters have until Sunday to leave voluntarily or face forced eviction.

A strong police force is to be involved in the operations with a Mobile Squad from Goroka already in Madang and a squad from Lae to arrive later.

The Madang Chamber of Commerce has criticised the eviction saying that it is poorly planned and will lead to violence.

It says many businesses will suffer because the majority of their workers come from the settlements.

A spokesperson for the provincial government says any problems arising from the eviction will be solve later.

The Madang eviction exercise will the biggest one carried out in Papua New Guinea.