27 Jan 2009

Situation remains tense in PNG border town after flare-up between rangers and police

12:21 pm on 27 January 2009

The Governor of Papua New Guinea's Sandaun province, Simon Solo, says the situation in the border town of Vanimo remains tense after a clash involving firearms between police and a border security service set up by the Forestry Minister.

The Minister, Belden Namah, reportedly needed military protection after his border rangers squad was fired upon by local police.

Police say the rangers have been terrorising and assaulting locals at illegal roadblocks since the creation of the service last year as part of efforts to control crime around the border with Indonesia.

Governor Solo says riot squad police deployed from Lae are in control of the town.

He says Mr Namah's idea of establishing the rangers was good but the timing and manner of their patrols have been wrong.

"He should approach my office and we can sit down and talk so we are able to help him out, help him to set out these border rangers to help regular police get down these illegal activities on the border. The idea he has is a good idea, but it's just that he doesn't liaise with police, that's the thing."

The Governor of Papua new Guinea's Sandaun province, Simon Solo.