23 Oct 2008

PNG provincial headquarters in Mt Hagen burnt down

4:32 pm on 23 October 2008

A Papua New Guinea provincial headquarters has burnt down, the second government office to be destroyed by fire in as many months.

PNG's Post-Courier newspaper says the Mount Hagen administration building in the Western Highlands province was gutted in an early morning blaze on Wednesday.

It says there was some looting, with scores of residents crying and angrily arguing about who to blame as the burning two-storey building fire illuminated the sky.

Ongoing national election disputes, tribal fights and local disagreements have been cited for the fire which locals suspect was arson.

Last month, the Milne Bay Provincial government building in Alotau was also razed in a fire.

Both blazes were exacerbated by local fire services being underequipped and understaffed.