PNG police chief warns protesters on water, power ‘domestic terrorism’

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Koiari landowners in Central Province shut down the water and hydroelectricity supply
Koiari landowners in Central Province shut down the water and hydroelectricity supply to the capital Port Moresby and blocked the access road into Sirinumu Dam. Image: PNG Post-Courier

PNG Post-Courier in Port Moresby

Papua New Guinea’s Police Commissioner David Manning has warned protesters against “domestic terrorism” — when their actions place the safety and security of other people at risk.

Commissioner Manning made the comments after Koiari landowners in Central Province shut down the water and hydroelectricity supply to Port Moresby, and blocked the access road into the strategic Sirinumu Dam.

“Police are proceeding with caution to engage with those involved in the shutdown of water and power generation facilities to ensure there is no further damage and to have services restored,” he said.

PNG Police Commissioner David Manning
PNG Police Commissioner David Manning . . . “It is not for police to be involved in resolving the politics of an issue, it is our role to protect public safety and security.” Image: PNG Post-Courier

“We are aware that discussions are underway at the political level, and information on progress in these discussions are part of our considerations in this security matter.

“It is not for police to be involved in resolving the politics of an issue, it is our role to protect public safety and security,” Manning said.

He said the intentional disruption to essential services was a criminal activity, and this was the basis for a police response.

Police vow to act
“Cutting power and water supply to hospitals, schools, business and the broader population is basically an act of domestic terrorism,” Commissioner Manning said.

“No individual has the right to deprive fellow citizens of access to essential services in order to elevate their grievances.

“I appreciate that the landowners of Koiari have grievances that they are seeking to rectify, but causing harm and distress to other people is not the way to resolve this issue.

“The next steps for police in resolving the issue is to prepare to intervene and remove obstructions and restore services.”

“This is pending the outcome of discussions between the parties that we naturally hope will be successful and negate the need for police intervention.”

Republished with permission.

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