Security beefed up for doctors

Security has been beefed up for doctors in Mendi following the unrest on Thursday.

President of the National Doctors Association, James Naipao, told this newsroom that the doctors are currently in the vicinity and within the premises of the hospital.

“If the civil unrest goes out of hand, they will be evacuated at the request of the doctors in Mendi,” said Dr Naipao.

Meantime, over 200 troops are set to be deployed to Mendi.

The PNGDF soldiers have just landed in Mt Hagen. From there, they will travel up to Mendi.

PNGDF Chief-of-Staff, Philip Polewara, said defence reinforcements have also come in from Tari and have set up guards for the hospital, police station and CS properties.

This civil unrest followed a court decision on Thursday (June 14) afternoon in favour of Southern Highlands Governor William Powi.

Joseph Kobol’s petition was dismissed because he failed to comply with requirements of section 208 s(b) of the Organic Law.

However, the news was not well received in Mendi.

After the court decision, a group of angry locals, alleged to be supporters of Kobol, attacked a Link PNG Dash 8 aircraft and set fire to it.

Other buildings that were razed included the Mendi courthouse and Governor Powi’s residence.

During the riot, opportunists also ransacked a warehouse housing relief supplies for earthquake-stricken areas.

The National Executive Council has now approved the declaration of a State of Emergency for Southern Highlands Province, including a Defence Force call-out.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says those involved will face the full force of the law.

(Picture: PNGDF soldiers in Mt Hagen)

Carmella Gware