‘Protesters should go’

Lae News, Normal

The National, Wednesday, June 8th 2011

WESTERN Highlanders planning to suspend Public Motor Vehicle services in Lae should pack and leave Morobe, Governor Luther Wenge said yesterday.
“Get your buses, pack up and leave. We will organise ourselves and resort to alternatives,” he said.
The PMV operators plan to suspend services to pressure the Morobe provincial government into hearing their de­mands following the Back Road ethnic clash in which Western Highlanders were targeted.
The highlanders had property destroyed by angry mobs last Thursday, with the clashes continuing into the weekend.
The affected Hageners have made camp in the Kamkumung area as they take stock of their losses and organise themselves to seek the provincial government’s help to find justice and rebuild their lives and businesses.
Wenge made it clear neither he nor his officers had received a petition from the affected Western Highlands’ community and PMV operators who dominate the Lae public transport system.
The highlanders were targeted in a retaliatory attack by the Kabwum people on the Back Road following the murder of a youth last Wednesday.
“If they organised themselves to meet with me to present their petition, I will be happy to do that,” Wenge said.
He made it clear he was not siding with any ethnic group in the matter, saying it was a law and order issue that got out of hand and which the police failed to contain.
Wenge said the residents of Lae should not be held at ransom as they were innocent and de­serve to use important services like PMVs.
“Don’t come and issue threats, get your buses and get out if you are se­rious so that we can or­ganise ourselves,” he said.