1 Aug 2006

PNG police prepare for law and order emergency in Southern Highlands

8:07 pm on 1 August 2006

There are conflicting reports from Papua New Guinea about whether a state of emergency has been declared in the South Highlands Province.

The news agency AAP reports that the prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, says soldiers and police are being deployed to restore law and order in the province, which is to be a key player in the proposed PNG-Queensland gas pipeline.

But a police official says police in PNG are preparing for a state of emergency to be declared soon in the energy-rich Southern Highlands province.

And the official says if a state of emergency is declared, it expects upto 800 police personnel to be engaged in what would be a 3 month operation.

The provincial Governor Hami Yawari has long been accused of giving cash handouts while roads, schools and health posts fell into disrepair.