Displaced Sepik settlers in Bulolo Care Centre to receive legal land

The Bulolo District Authority has marked out land for displaced Sepik settlers living in a care center for nearly six years. But, Sepik community leaders are calling for close dialogue with authorities.

The Sepik people previously occupied the land until 2010, when they were forced to move after clashes with local groups.

Bulolo DDA CEO, Tai Gwembalek, says the district has planned to mix up the different ethnic groups, so peace is maintained among them.

The displaced Sepik settlers will be placed into allotments on the same land they lived on before.

This time the Bulolo district administration has mixed up the ethnic groups. People will not be living in clusters of ethnic groups on their own.

Gwembalek says the district had to act immediately, because the Sepik settlers were in the care centre for almost six years.

“It’s the same land they were living on, before the clashes,” says Gwembalek.

The Morobe Provincial Government, through the provincial lands department were going to allocate new land, but ran out of funding to complete the surveys.

“There were shortage of funding for the survey, so the DDA hired a private surveyor to do it,” says Gwembalek.

The poor living conditions included airborne diseases and water shortages at the care centre. These have been issues for the duration of the past six years. The Sepik settlers say they are now waiting to move back.

“We are waiting to move to the allotments,” says Markis Mombi, a Lutheran Pastor and Community Leader.

Mombi also said community leaders would like to have dialogue with authorities to keep them informed.

“We want an update from the Member of parliament, (Sam Basil) and the administration,” says Mombi.

Bulolo town has had many ethnic clashes over the years, because of the many different ethnic groups that call the historical town home.

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