24 Oct 2002

Food shortage may force police in PNGs Chimbu province to release prisoners

11:23 am on 24 October 2002

Police in Papua New Guinea's Chimbu province says they may have to release some of their crime suspects from jail because of problems finding enough food to feed them.

The Chief Superintendent, Samson Mapi says they do not have any money to buy food supplies for the 60 detainees who at the moment receive rationed rice and tinned fish once a day.

Mr Mapi says he's been buying food on credit from local business houses for the last three months and that there is uncertainty as to how long that will last.

He says the regional police headquarters and the provincial government have indicated they are unable to help out.

Mr Mapi says the release of detainees on bail will jeopardise public safety.

"Because there is no food in the cells anywhere, and I did release those guys on bail which I'm not supposed to, and we worry about the community, we don't want our community to live in fear and - you know the highways pass through Chimbu from Lae, Madang up to the Higlands provinces so we don't want to keep people at risk, that is a concern to me."

Samson Mapi from PNG's Chimbu Police