24 Oct 2014

PNG Police deny shooting man in Mt Hagen riot

8:27 pm on 24 October 2014

Order has been restored in the Papua New Guinea city of Mt Hagen after a large fire and looting on Wednesday night.

The acting police commissioner Martin Lakari says about 500 people formed a mob to loot buildings in the fire's path, which took over 6 hours to bring under control and destroyed about eight buildings in the town's centre.

Mr Lakari says police had to fire tear gas and warning shots to try and disperse the crowd.

One person died as a result of the rioting and several others were wounded.

Mr Lakari denies reports the man died after being shot by police.

He says the man's injuries were consistent with a beating at the hands of looters, and an investigation has begun.

"It's not a gunshot wound. It's a serious wounding he received from what's believed to be an axe wound or a bush knife wound."

Martin Lakari says only one person died on Wednesday night, and reports that a woman died in the fire have turned out to be false.