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20 June 2018


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Chris Overland

The ABC is now reporting that 440 PNGDF members have been deployed to Mendi. This represents a full battalion of troops or about 50% of all PNGDF land forces.

This is, on the face of it, an extraordinary response by the government. Presumably, there is little confidence that the RPNGC can handle the situation, possibly because it is out gunned in this case.

Moving such a large number of troops into the area is fraught with risk. While their rules of engagement aim to minimise the risk of conflict, it will only take one idiot on either side to open fire to ignite a conflagration.

Let us hope that the leadership on each side is wise enough and strong enough to prevent this.

Philip Fitzpatrick

According to the Post Courier the National and the District Court facilities, and equipment that were destroyed by fire in last Thursday’s riot in Mendi cost more than K4 million.

The National Judicial Staff Services Secretary Jack Kariko and Acting Registrar for the Supreme and National Courts Samuel Ikiso revealed this yesterday in a media statement as they joined the nation to condemn the “unlawful” and “criminal ”destruction”.

“The District Court building is new and built by AusAID at a cost of about K3 million in 2011 and the National Court which was the previous District Court building was upgraded by the Judiciary at a cost of K500,000 and a further K600,000 spent upgrading the equipment and supplies,” they said, adding that the judiciary was saddened to experience its worst and first ever loss of facilities they have toiled long and hard to build since 2010.

They said such cowardly actions of a shameless few that have targeted harmless and defenseless service providers do not represent the way of life of the vast majority of the law-abiding people of Southern Highlands Province and that those responsible must be brought to justice soon.

Mr Kariko and Mr Ikiso said that the judiciary was concerned about the need to maintain rule of law in the province at all times and was holding talks with the its partner law and justice agencies to continue court operations in the province while it plans to rebuild facilities in Mendi in the near future.

They said the judiciary is considering operating from temporary bases out of Ialibu and Pangia where the District Court is based and would hold discussions with the Magisterial Services to upgrade those facilities if needed to accommodate the National Court.

The destruction of assets provided by Australia must be of concern to the Australian government. Why haven't they mentioned this?

Martinez Wasuak

I wonder how and when those high powered weapons were made available to men believed to be not trained in using it.

I'm afraid such situation might escalate into another much more advance Bougainville conflict.

Those weapons probably made available to them by some good educated comrade who are so selfish without foresee what lasting impact it might have to most innocent citizen.

There might be push factor all added up and it all comes back to an educated individuality or so called wana be leaders.

It is now or never for an individual to make a change or we'll see our beloved country suffer more. We are living in a perilous time?

God Bless my country.

Chris Overland

The picture of armed men attached to Jonny Blades' article is more revealing than it may seem to those who understand little about guns.

Of the men visible in the picture, at least three (possibly four) appear to be holding Armalite AR-15 assault rifles. Two others are holding what appear to be pump action shot guns.

The AR-15 is a weapon much beloved of the US National Rifle Association.

It is also the weapon of choice for the so-called "preppers" (those who believe Armageddon is imminent and so are busily preparing for that event) and, of course, those who intend to kill as many school children as possible before being arrested or gunned down themselves.

In the hands of a competent infantry soldier, an AR-15 can do very serious harm at ranges up to 300 metres. A carefully aimed shot at a range of less than 100 metres will often be fatal.

This is why Jerry Singarok thinks that the PNGDF and Police may be outgunned in the Southern Highlands. I think that he is right.

Patrol Officers were sometimes obliged to interpose themselves and their police between warring tribesmen in an effort to stop tribal fighting.

This was an daunting and risky task: an old fashioned arrow could certainly kill you and even a comparatively minor wound could be exceedingly unpleasant.

The thought of trying to get between warring tribesmen carrying AR-15 rifles or shotguns makes me shudder. Basically, it would be suicidally dangerous to do so. It would take only one over excited idiot to open fire and all hell would break loose.

I do wonder not only where these rifles have come from but why the RPNGC has actually allowed people to hang on to them.

None of the weapon holders is likely to be well trained in their use, nor have the self discipline required to not start shooting if placed in a very high stress situation such as a confrontation with an "enemy" force.

Basically, the mere existence of such weapons exponentially increases the odds of something really bad happening.

That said, I think that it is now far too late to even hope that these weapons might be surrendered, so a new and much more difficult risk must now be factored into the already complex equation in the Southern Highlands (and elsewhere I presume).

Good luck to those who have to collectively guide this situation to a successful and peaceful conclusion.

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