19 Oct 2006

Australians warned about possible violence in PNG Highlands ahead of election

2:34 pm on 19 October 2006

Australian foreign affairs officials say violence is likely in the Papua New Guinea highlands ahead of the national elections in June next year.

They say the months leading up to the poll are likely to be politically volatile and this could impact on the security situation.

Australians are advised to avoid large public gatherings in Port Moresby, Lae and major towns in the highlands region.

Foreign affairs officials have issued fresh advice following threats from villagers near the Kokoda Track to close sections of the famous Second World War track.

They say Australians walking the track should only use reputable guides.

The officials say there have been occasional threats by villagers to close parts of the track because of local land and compensation disputes.