Illegal mining activity and alcohol-related crimes in Porgera Valley have gradually reduced through Operation Short Stop 2014, the police call out operation initiated in April this year.
Through the efforts of the Joint Security Forces Prosecution Unit, the unit has handled over 200 cases over the last couple of months, with 42 cases convicted.
Following the success of the first deployment, the second phase of the call out operation has seen more troops from the PNG Defence Force Bravo Company, from Moem Barracks, deployed into Porgera Valley to reduce crime in the area.
In a media statement, the joint security forces stated that since the first call out was made on the 23rd of April, they have seen significant progress. Crime rates have dropped at Porgera Valley, mostly related to illegal mining activities.
Barrick Gold, the developer of Porgera Gold Mine is a major partner in the call out operation, due to the increase in illegal miners and rise in criminal activities in Porgera Valley.
Contingent Commander Chief Superintendent Norman Kambo confirmed that they have reduced the level of illegal miners entering the mine pit. Heavy police presence, PNG Defence force troops and logistical support from Barrick Gold has reduced crime.
With the alcohol ban in Porgera Valley, crimes have reduced. The Joint Security Forces Prosecution Unit has convicted 42 offenders from September to October this year. Convictions include cases of illegal miners, murder, rape and family violence, mostly associated with polygamy.
All illegal miners convicted are fined K1,000. So far, two illegal miners have been convicted and fined.
Recently, a workshop was conducted by all parties attached to the call out operation. They identified impact projects for the community based on the five year development plan for Laigaip, Porgera.
This will see the involvement of other government departments; however, funding has been a problem, especially for those in the call out operations.
Following a recent visit by the Director of National Security Council Ian Jinga earlier this month, he ensured the government’s commitment to the second phase of call out operation Short Stop 2014 in Porgera Valley.