22 May 2009

PNG provincial governor warns against looting, blames Government inaction

1:38 pm on 22 May 2009

The Governor of Papua New Guinea's Enga Province, Peter Ipatas, has warned people against looting stores, after days of Asian businesses being targetted.

Enga's Wabag town is on high alert, with armed police patrolling the streets after two men were shot dead and three seriously injured following the attempted looting of a shop operated by Asians.

The newspaper, The National, reports that the looters had made an early-morning attack on the store, where they met with store security guards and gunfire broke out.

Governor Ipatas has expressed regret at the deaths but said looting was illegal and that people shouldn't take matters into their own hands.

He said that the current wave of attacks against Asian businesses throughout the country indicates underlying problems in PNG society.

Mr Ipatas said that if foreigners are taking over local businesses, it's because the Government has failed to protect and promote the interests of its people.

Meanwhile, a police mobile unit deployed in Porgera was immediately recalled to Wabag where there are fears of reprisal killings by clansmen of the dead and injured.