Protestors torch plane, shut airport in Mendi, PNG

Radio New Zealand, June 14, 2018

Protesters in the Papua New Guinea Southern Highlands town of Mendi have torched a plane and closed the airport.

Earlier, the local Police Station Commander Gideon Kauke had said that Police were guarding the aircraft to ensure that there was no further damage after its tyres had been flattened.

Police retreat

But he said that his team of about ten police couldn’t contain a mob of uncountable numbers, particularly after missiles were thrown, forcing them to retreat.

“We were guarding the plane but compared to them we were outnumbered and they came in all directions, all corners. Missiles were thrown, bush knives were thrown,” Mr Kauke said.

He said that some of the protestors, who continue to behave menacingly in Mendi as their numbers build up, were carrying guns.

Election challenged

He said that the protest was in response to a court ruling in Waigani confirming the election of the Southern Highlands Governor William Powi.

Governor Powi’s success in last year’s election had been challenged by Joseph Kobol and Bernard Peter Kaku.

Mr Kauke said that the protestors alleged there was foul play in the court decision.

Indian Newslink has published the above Report and Picture under a Special Agreement with www.rnz.co.nz

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Photo Caption:

The destroyed Air Nuigini Dash 8 at Mendi Airport

(RNZI picture by Melvin Levongo)

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