11 Jun 2014

PNG cops raid illegal

5:25 am on 11 June 2014

The MP for Porgera in Papua New Guinea's Enga province has accused police of conducting an illegal raid and of setting alight 200 homes at the behest of an international mining company.

Nixon Mangape says the village of the Wingima - which borders a gold mine operated by Candian company Barrick Gold - was raided in the early hours of Friday in an attempt to catch illegal miners.

The police say that only 20 houses were destroyed, not 200.

But a spokesperson for Mr Mangape's office, Yalo Hexton Kapi, says that's a massive underestimate and the raid was an attempt by Barrick to avoid addressing long-standing issues in the area.

"What they are doing now is adding fuel to the tension that is among the landowners, and at the same time to the illegal miners. So, burning down of the houses, taking of innocent people in Porgera, like using guns and doing all these things. You know, they're human beings so they will retaliate."

Yalo Hexton Kapi says the landowners want compensation and for Barrick to help them relocate for the situation to be resolved peacefully.