Mendi unrest 2018

SHP relief supplies in Mt Hagen

This newsroom was reliably informed that over 2,000 items, including water tanks and food such as tinned fish and noodles, are in Mt Hagen ready to be transported to Mendi Town.

These items are part of the government’s relief efforts after declaring a State Of Emergency following the earthquake in February this year.

Food supplies were necessary after the earthquake destroyed most of the food gardens that the affected people depended heavily on.


Plane burning will not deter APEC: Minister

Minister Tkatchenko said the actions do not represent the people and the country and only tarnishes the work they are putting into preparing for APEC.

“It’s an absolute disgrace and total disappointment, what happened in Mendi by individuals for their own self greed and self gain.

“These people do not represent any of us at all or what we are trying to achieve in our country,” said the Minister.

“All the good work that we are doing to the lead up to APEC will not deter us at all. This event that has happened will not deter us at all.”

Kobol apologises

He publicly apologised in front of the media yesterday afternoon, witnessed by Southern Highlands Governor William Powi and other Southern Highlands leaders, including Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Enga Governor Peter Ipatas and the Minister for Justice and Attorney General, Davies Steven.

He further apologised to airline company, Air Niugini, for the burning of its Link PNG Dash 8 aircraft at Mendi Airport, saying the act was uncalled for.

He said he is now prepared to review the case through the Supreme Court.

Frustrated locals take police vehicles, weapons

According to the PPC, Gideon Kauke, the locals removed two police vehicles and two weapons from the unit.

Gauke, when confirming the incident, says the police personnel were rescued by another unit while their weapons and vehicles were removed.

He says at present they are now regrouping to consider their next course of action.

The PPC would not say how many men were in the cars at the time of the incident, only stating that the locals involved are believed to be upset over the recent decision by the NEC to suspend the Southern Highlands Provincial Government.

110 PNGDF personnel deployed

This was outlined by the PNGDF Chief-of-Staff, Philip Polewara, who says the men are tasked with the intent to help restore law and order in the tension-filled area.

Polewara also clarified that the reinforcement from Tari will be sent back to their area of operations once the troops have been settled in.

He said the defence troops were pulled in on Friday to provide additional coverage after a directive was issued by the defence minister.

Following this morning's deployment, the Tari unit will be retracted to safeguard their posts.

Team to probe Mendi riot

Deputy Commissioner of police operations, Jim Andrews, says the team will be made up of CID, Forensics and two fire officers.

Andrews says the team has been tasked to establish facts into the riots and subsequent burning of the aircraft and property in Mendi.

Earlier this morning, troops set to fly into Mendi via Hagen departed Port Moresby.

Andrews adds that at present, the situation in Mendi is quiet but tense.

The security teams have also reported to be on standby following rumours of convoy of vehicles en route from Kaugua-Erave and Nipa.

Security beefed up for doctors

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.

NEC approves state of emergency

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.

Relief supplies looted in Mendi: Police

Deputy Commissioner of police operations, Jim Andrews, revealed that during Thursday’s rioting, a warehouse holding relief supplies for earthquake affected communities in the area was looted by opportunists.

Andrews expressed disappointment at the actions of the looters, adding this act was uncalled for as it affected the less fortunate victims of the recent devastating disaster.

(Burnt remains of the Link PNG Dash 8 aircraft – Picture: Zaka Warea)

Airline crew safely returns to POM

Two pilots, a load master and a cabin crew member were operating a scheduled Regular Public Transport (RTP) service to Mendi when the incident occurred.

Link PNG will complete a full review of what occurred, and a risk assessment in accordance with PNG Civil Aviation Safety Authority (PNG CASA) requirements.  

In a statement, Air Niugini says the services to Mendi are suspended and also temporarily to Tari and Wapenamanda, whilst Link PNG reviews its schedule due to the lack of this aircraft to provide services.