NEC approves state of emergency

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has announced that the National Executive Council has approved the declaration of a State of Emergency for Southern Highlands Province, including a Defence Force call-out.

The NEC has agreed to a course of action that will restore order in Southern Highlands, ensure all leaders with potential involvement in unlawful behaviour are held to account, and prevent further unlawful activities.

Prime Minister O’Neill, when announcing the NEC decision, said the actions of reckless individuals in Mendi has disgusted the nation.

He said the State of Emergency in Southern Highlands Province will be in place for a period of nine months, and Thomas Eluh is being appointed as the controller of the SOE.

O’Neill added that police will investigate every agitator, and every person who was involved in the unrest yesterday, and those involved will face the full force of the law.

However, the Opposition in a press conference this afternoon called for a stop to the State of Emergency in the province as there is no funding for such an exercise.

“You cannot send the security personnel to go and solve a problem that involve failed leaders,” says Madang MP Bryan Kramer.

He said the people need to see their leaders on the ground to address these issues.

Northern Governor Gary Juffa also expressed similar sentiments, saying the same problem arose in Bougainville which led to the death of more than 20,000 Bougainvilleans.

“We don’t want to be like our people in Bougainville. We need to address this issue in an orderly manner.”

(Prime Minister Peter O’Neill filepic)

Freddy Mou