By JAMES GUMUNO
WESTERN Highlands police commander is appealing for peace and calm in Mt Hagen city following widespread destruction last Monday.
Chief Supt Martin Lakari issued a stern warning to the public on Saturday that police would not tolerate criminal activities in the city.
Lakari said that a peaceful protest march last week over an election dispute resulted in criminal activities like the burning down of the Mt Hagen district treasury office and the two-storey city council chamber building, looting of shops, ransacking of the bMobile transmission office, and shutting down of the city water supply for four days.
He said that businesshouse shut in fear of looting by opportunists.
Lakari said that Mt Hagen was the central business hub of the Highlands region and he would not allow opportunist to carry out their illegal activities.
“I will not allow any more protests or public gatherings in the city.”
Lakari said that city must be free for business houses to operate and people travelling in from neighbouring provinces must feel free to move around and go back to their provinces.
“I want to appeal to the candidates of Hagen open to control their people and supporters not to do anything silly in the city,” he said.
He said that police would not hesitate to hold them responsible for the actions of their supporters.
Lakari said that if the electoral commissioner did not respond favourably to a petition by losing candidates to count the 28 ballot boxes set aside, they still have another avenue available to take the matter up peacefully.
“Police do not want to make enemies with anyone; all we ask is follow the right procedure and allow peace and harmony to prevail in the city.”
Lakari said the city’s policemen and women were all back in the province after their election operations and no one would escape from facing justice if they commit any criminal activity.
Meanwhile, Lakari thanked the people of Dei, Tambul-Nebilyer, and Mul-Baiyer electorates for their understanding and accepting election results peacefully.
Lakari said that unlike in the past election, there was no fighting or destruction of public properties after declarations are done in those electorates.
“I want to thank all candidates for showing good leadership by controlling their people by maintaining law and order,” PPC Lakari said.
By JAMES GUMUNO