B Julie Badui Owa – EMTV News, Port Moresby
More than 200 homes of settlers residing near the Lae Tidal Basin in Lae were burnt by officers of Morobe Provincial Government and Lae’s Police following an eviction alleged to be funded by PNG Ports.
Eyewitnesses said that police officers painted their faces and walked into the settlement and burnt down their homes.
Lae’s Police Chief Superintendent for Operations, Fred Kaiwa, confirmed that Police were there to provide security to officers of Morobe Provincial Government to conduct the eviction.
The settlers including children fled their homes when the Government officers entered and burnt over 200 homes and chopped down trees using chainsaws.
A settler from the area, Castalin, with her 18-month old daughter are now homeless.
According to Lae’s Acting Metropolitan Commander, Fred Kaiwa, PNG Ports funded the eviction, for Morobe Provincial Government to conduct.
He said he wasn’t aware that police personnel took charge of the eviction exercise, saying they were only supposed to provide security.
The chairman and village court magistrate of ward 3, Peter wai, said there is no proof of a court order allowing Morobe Provincial Government to conduct the eviction.
According to eyewitnesses, the police went back to Papuan Compound on Thursday morning and terrorised the community, following a report of an alleged attack on Lae’s Acting City Manager, Kesu Lucas, by few members of Papuan Compound community.