While petty crimes are not an issue in Enga, guerilla warfare is, hence his effort to clamp down on high-powered firearms.
Speaking to media during the recent visit of Australian High Commissioner, Jonathan Philp, the Enga Provincial Police Commander, Epenes Nili, said while the province is generally trouble-free, a number of tribal clashes have disrupted the peace.
“Currently we’ve got two or three tribal fights,” the PPC stated. “One is in Kandep and the other one is Porgera. It’s a marathon fight, meaning it’s a type of guerilla fight; they fought, they stopped and then they fought again – this kind of thing for years.”
The PPC said disciplinary forces would be deployed to quell the situation, but after some time, fighting would erupt again.
He said currently, fighting at Porgera has been brought to a halt due to the deployment of PNG Defence Force personnel to lower Porgera.
“I have put in place a directive that I want nothing else but arrests,” PPC Nili stated. “One thing Engans fear, is arrest. Going to jail. They don’t fear death. And that is an opposite thing. While the rest of Papua New Guinea and even the world fear death, I can’t see any reason why Engans don’t fear death; but they fear arrests.”
PPC Nili said as the only organisation that is empowered by the constitution to effect arrest, he is encouraging his members to lead the way, backed up by the PNGDF.
The police commander has warned that with the 2022 elections just around the corner, intending candidates who are involved in the smuggling of illegal firearms will also be apprehended.
(Enga Provincial Police Commander, Epenes Nili)