2 May 2009

Poergera Landowners to sue PNG police and state over destruction of homes

9:31 am on 2 May 2009

Porgera landowners in PNG's Enga province plan to sue the Police Force and State for millions of kina in damages for destruction of property by police in their recent operations to the troubled area.

This follows the reported destruction of more than 300 houses belonging to Porgera landowners by policemen deployed to the area recently following an upsurge in criminality and illegal mining in the gold-rich area.

The Post Courier newspaper reports that a letter has been sent to Police Commissioner Gari Baki and the Internal Security Minister Sambi Rambi by lawyers advising they would be taking legal action on behalf of people left homeless by the police operation.

However, the Police Commission has refuted claims it destroyed landowners' houses.

Police say they only destroyed about 50 illegal make-shift shelters and huts built within the Porgera Special Mining Lease area.

But the chairman of the Porgera Landowners Association Mark Ekepa insists that the houses burnt down by police numbered more than 300 and belonged to second and third generation landowners.