1 May 2003

Governor of Enga province in PNG criticises heavy police presence in Southern Highlands

10:14 am on 1 May 2003

The governor of Papua New Guinea's Enga province says the deployment of 2000 security personnel to the Southern Highlands province has led to more crime in other parts of the country.

The police and soldiers are in Southern Highlands for the supplementary elections which began on Saturday.

The National newspaper reports Enga Governor Peter Ipatas saying some provinces have been left vulnerable to criminals because most of the country's police force has been sent to the Southern Highlands.

Mr Ipatas says it's unacceptable to protect the lives of citizens in one province at the expense of other regions in the country.

He says constant armed robberies along the provinces' main highway has stalled the delivery of government services and is crippling Enga's economy.

Mr Ipatas' comments come after seven people were killed in Enga in tribal battles and armed robberies over the weekend.