by Stanley Ove Jr – EM TV, Port Moresby
While development is booming in the nation’s capital, land grabbing is another concern being raised by recently evicted settlers at both 4 Mile and Konedobu here in Port Moresby.
Last Friday, over seven houses at Danwaia (4 Mile) were destroyed in a forced eviction. Settlers there have shown court documents and land titles for ownership of the piece of land, however a company moved in with an eviction notice to destroy the houses and properties.
A similar case happened last Tuesday at Konedobu. Land portion 2873, where hundreds of settlers lived had their homes destroyed. The total cost of damages was reported in the millions.
Ricky Kepas, a settler at Konedobu, said the land owned by the people of Hanuabada was given to them thanks to a formal arrangement made between them and the traditional landowners.
The arrangement was witnessed by the courts, but a company claiming that portion of land last week ordered a forced eviction, with police standing guard while bulldozers ran through permanent houses of residents.
The biggest concern these settlers now have is asking how land titles are being given to foreign companies despite them (settlers) having full title to the land.
Lands Minister, Benny Allan, maintained that illegal settlers will be forced out of state land if development will occur. Minister Allan made no comment though on how or where these people would be relocated.