12 Feb 2011

PNG police says presence of security guards at Porgera add to crime

11:13 am on 12 February 2011

The Provincial Police Commander in Papua New Guinea's Enga Province says the presence of a private security force at the Porgera gold mine has only worsened the illegal activity around the mine.

Martin Lakari's comment comes after the Porgera Joint Venture sacked five employees at the mine over abuses against villagers, including pack rapes.

The alleged abuses by members of the mine's 450-strong private security force are being investigated by police and Mr Lakari says they've arrested some of the employees.

But he's disappointed that police access to the mine is significantly restricted by Porgera Joint Venture.

"I should have been allowed to control the situation. Instead, they're controlling it on their own which causes the problem. If they'd had left it to local police to handle it (illegal mining).. we have been trained to handle such situations. We would have handled this more adequately than all these security personnel who are there and mishandling. That's why the problem's getting out of hand all the time."

Police Commander in Papua New Guinea's Enga Province, Martin Lakari.