Church in PNG pushes for return of land at Putput

11:10 am on 6 April 2018

The Catholic archdiocese of Rabaul in Papua New Guinea's East New Britain province is seeking a judicial review to have it declared the owner of a block of land at Putput where a foreign logging company moved in late last year.

Doug Tennent and Archbishop Panfilo in Kokopo

Doug Tennent and Archbishop Panfilo in Kokopo Photo: supplied

The church has a mission station at Putput along with 17,000 hectares of the surrounding land.

A Malaysian logging company is asserting it has bought the land but Archbishop Francesco Panfilo contends the sale was fraudulent.

He said a key attraction for the loggers is the jetty at Putput.

The church is also seeking to stop the company from continuing its operations in the area.

The archdiocese has been aiming for some time to return the land to the local landowners and says this is still its intention.

An official said there was tension in the area over the arrival of the loggers and a local man working for the company was murdered late last month.

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