Vila Times

PNG: 200 soldiers and policemen sent to Mendi to fight violence

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The Papua New Guinea National Security Council is deploying 200 police and Defence Force personnel to combat lawlessness in Mendi in the Southern Highlands.

According to the report by RNZI, violence has been continuous since the election and on Tuesday business activity was at a standstill, with shops, the airport and the radio station shut down.

It followed the killing of two police officers at the weekend and a total of more than 30 across the Highlands over the past two months, amid tensions aroused by the election in June.

Police commissioner Gari Baki said four units of the police Mobile Squad and a platoon of PNGDF soldiers are leaving today for Mendi.

Mr Baki will also fly into Mendi for an emergency meeting aimed at restoring peace.

The Post Courier reported him saying this whole situation came about because of the election and ultimately the declaration of William Powi as Southern Highlands governor last week.

He said he wanted to meet with the leaders to see what solutions could be reached.

Mr Baki has also warned former candidates whose supporters continue to disrupt Mendi town that they will be dealt with.

He said the destruction of property and the shooting of the police officers were all politically motivated.