29 Jun 2009

Calm returns in PNG's Popondetta after riot by disgruntled bank customers

7:50 pm on 29 June 2009

The police in Oro Province in Papua New Guuinea describe the situation in Popondetta as tense, but quiet.

Hundreds of people rioted in the town late last week, smashing the windows of the Bank South Pacific branch, the Air Niugini office and looting other shops.

Senior Sergeant David Terry says the disturbance was caused by oil palm growers who were unable collect payments from the bank.

"Police arrived and dispersed the crowd, and spoke to the people and the situation returned to normal. A mobile squad has been flown into the area just to assist the local police to patrol the areas and to keep the peace in Oro province. So that's additional police manpower being deployed there from Southern Regional Taskforce."

David Terry says investigators have interviewed people in Popondetta hospital to get a picture of what happened and charges are pending.