By Jack Lapauve Jr – EM TV, Port Moresby
Hundreds of families in Porgera lost their homes and properties worth millions of kina during a police operation this week.
Over 50 houses belonging to the Kungurin tribe of Paiam village, next to the Paiam police station, were torched down by police.
The incidences occurred at around 4am on Sunday, 1 February, when the villagers were sleeping in their houses. No casualties were reported.
According to some of the affected residents, the police officers put them at gunpoint, forced them out and set their houses on fire.
They said they were not allowed to get anything from their houses and all their personal belongings were burnt, along with their homes.
All properties belonging to the villagers, including livestock, white goods, clothes and others worth millions of kina, were destroyed.
Among the properties destroyed was a new Land Cruiser belonging to a mine employee.
A senior police officer who did not want to be named said the police operation was done after someone from the Kungurin tribe punched a senior police officer living at the Paiam Police Barracks.
The source said that the Kungurin local who punched the senior police officer last week was a reserve police officer.
He said it was an “in-house problem”, but police personnel went to the extremes of burning houses and destroying the villagers’ property.
The villagers have called on the police hierarchy, including the Enga provincial police commander, Porgera District Administrator, Mori Iarume, law and order officials and the council president from Porgera to address the problem.