22 Aug 2006

PNG government extends state of emergency in Southern Highlands to five months.

6:31 pm on 22 August 2006

The Papua New Guinea Government has voted to extend the state of emergency in Southern Highlands to five months.

A state of emergency was declared at the beginning of August after eight out of the nine M.P.s from the province called for action to combat corruption and mismanagement.

The provincial governor Hami Yawari and his administration were suspended and an 800 strong team of police, soldiers and prison guards sent in.

Our correspondent, Alex Rheeney, says the government thinks it will take five months for the security forces, and the public servants who will follow them, to restore order.

He says the people of Southern Highlands have welcomed the intervention because of the break-down in government services.

"We are talking about the Mendi hospital not getting any funding at all from the provincial government since 2002. We are talking about schools in remote areas actually shutting down because they haven't received school materials and funding from the provincial government."


The sidelined Southern Highlands governor, Hami Yawari, claims that parliament today acted illegally in extending the emergency provisions which lapsed at midnight Monday night.

A defiant Mr Yawari later told reporters the extension of the emergency provisions was illegal and his lawyers were testing this in the National Court.

He Yawari said that as of 12 o'clock I have all my powers back.

I'm appealing for all the security forces to pull out because the state of emergency doesn't exist by law.