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Papua New Guinea

LOs storm Petroleum office over delays

BY STEPHEN R MASE

UPNG Journalism student

This caused locals from the area to retaliate after security guards were assaulted by the angry mob.

The fight was dissolved by police but not before alarming local residents and motorists.

According to petroleum staff, a group of more than 100 disgruntled landowners barged their way through the gates demanding to see senior managers of the department.

A source said the alleged grievances are over payments of more than K35 million to landowners of PDL1 and 7 (petroleum development licences) by the National Government last year.

The landowners alleged that there was interference from the managers and they were frustrated over the ongoing delays over the issue.

Senior managers of the Petroleum Department were not able to comment on the allegations.

Three officers were injured in the altercation, and extensive damage caused to private and public property in the yard.

Vehicles windscreens were smashed, with office windows, computers and other office equipment bearing the brunt of the landowners raid.

Assistant director of the coordinating branch of the department Alphonse Lagap said that it was unexpected.

“It’s the first time that this has happened and we were caught unaware,” he said.

“Our staff are now fearing for their safety and we will have to close the branch until the damages have been repaired.”

Mr Lagap said they had proposed meeting with all parties to resolve their concerns before anything else happened or things got out of hand.

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