PNG: 5 Day Blockade After Police Shooting

29 January: A five-day blockade that cut fuel supplies to Papua New Guinea’s capital, Port Moresby, and forced some power stations to close ended on 29 January.

The blockade was imposed by villagers from Hanuabada after two betel nut vendors were shot and killed by police who fired into a crowd.

Locals say police fired indiscriminately into a crowd of men, women and children after a dispute between betel nut sellers and council officers. Angry Hanuabadans maintained roadblocks around the village, one of which blocks the road to the PNG LNG plant site outside the capital.

Radio NZ correspondent, Todagia Kelola, says the police commissioner, Geoffrey Vaki, and other senior government officials visited the village, and negotiated the end of the blockade.

Mr Kelola says the blockade’s end came at a crucial moment. “Port Moresby city almost came to a standstill with the fuel for the city running short because tankers were blocked, and at the same time the power station that supports supply to city, the expatriates that operate that power plant had to be evacuated, so the power plant was shut down.”

Todagia Kelola says it’s not clear what deal was reached with police, as the villagers had originally demanded 4 million US dollars compensation for the killings.

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