1 May 2009

PNG denies paper report about Porgera fires

8:39 am on 1 May 2009

Papua New Guinea's acting Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Police Operations, Raphael Huafolo, has strongly refuted local newspaper reports that police destroyed more than 300 houses belonging to landowners near the Porgera mine in Enga.

The Post Courier said the houses had apparently been torched by police deployed in the area to restore law and order.

But Mr Huafolo says about 50 illegal makeshift shelters and huts built within the Porgera Special Mining Lease area were destroyed by police in a move to clamp down on increasing lawlessness and illegal activity.

Mr Huafolo says these shelters had become breeding grounds for crime.

He says the law and order problem in Porgera had reached an unprecedented level and drastic measures had to be taken to restore normality.

Mr Huafolo chided the media, saying unsubstantiated reporting causes fear, anxiety and unnecessary problems, especially for police.