Morobe Provincial Police Commander (PPC) Augustine Wampe responded to queries regarding the Tanam Evictions over the weekend.
He says, police were acting upon a court order issued to them by the District Court, in favor of a registered Incorporated Land Group (ILG).
According to Mr. Wampe, landowners in the area have their own land disputes.
“The other group, they have their ILG registered under, so we are acting on the court orders that directed the police to go in and take possession of the land and hand it over to the other parties”.
Locals and settlers along the Tanam area were given eviction notices from the Rural Police on the 30th of December last year, ordering them to relocate by the 2nd of January this year.
On the 5th, a bulldozer was brought in to clear the land, destroying five houses before the residents obtained a stay order.
Police stopped the exercise however, they continued when the ILG obtained a court order to continue with the evictions.
Over the weekend, heavy machinery escorted by rural police were sent to the site to continue with the evictions, pulling down more houses.
Locals argue that the ILG, the Montar Meyab Naron Land Group, does not stem from a recognized clan in the area, but was allegedly registered with the backing of developer.
Mr. Wampe said it is unfortunate that the evictions are being conducted, however, police are acting upon issued court orders.