10 Apr 2009

Enga Governor opposes PNG military presence at Porgera

4:00 pm on 10 April 2009

The Governor of Enga province in Papua New Guinea says the government's decision to deploy members of the Defence Force and police to Porgera is not in the best interest of the local people.

The newspaper, The National, reports that cabinet decided two weeks ago to deploy security forces under a call-out order to combat an upsurge in lawlessness, including tribal fighting and illegal mining in the gold-rich Porgera area.

This followed following a petition by local leaders in Porgera calling for a call-out order to be imposed in the area.

The troops and police officers are expected to be deployed next week.

However, the Governor Peter Ipatas says the tribal fights do not warrant a call-out, particularly when local law enforcing bodies are not being fully utilised.

Mr Ipatas says bolstering of the local police mobile squad would be helpful but thinks the deployment of soldiers is a step too far.

Some local leaders have told the newspaper they made a mistake by signing the petition without reading the content of it.