3 Aug 2006

State of emergency in PNG's Southern Highlands requested by most of province's MPs

7:44 pm on 3 August 2006

The Papua New Guinea Internal Security minister, Alphonse Willie, says most of the MPs in the Southern Highlands province asked for a state of emergency to be imposed.

About 700 police and a platoon of soldiers are to be sent to the province for several months from the middle of August.

The governor, Hami Yawari, and his administration have been suspended and curfews are to be imposed.

On Monday, the Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, told Parliament that there was an appalling security situation and a general lack of public order and administration in the province.

Mr Willie says basic services are not being provided and they want to find out where the money has gone.

"We are trying to clean up a mess. There is a budget of the province which is about more than a hundred million [kina] in a year. If there is such a budget then we expect that the basic infrastructure like roads, health services, education should be smoothly attended to."