City authorities clamp down on illegal settlement


AN illegal squatter settlement in Kokopo, East New Britain, was removed last Thursday.
In a combined operation by the Kokopo police response unit and Kokopo-Vunamami urban local level government, a squatter settlement at Tibur beachfront was cleared.
Kokopo city manager Freddy Lemeki said on Friday that the LLG and Kokopo city authority management had issued an eviction notice in February to settlers living at the beachfront from Garden Enterprise to Tibur to vacate as they were illegally occupying state land.
Lemeki said non-compliance led to the authority and police tearing down makeshift structures and forcing settlers to leave the area.
Lemeki said the area in question was government reserve land which the city authority under the LLG had plans to develop.
He said the authority was working to remove all illegal settlements in Kokopo and discourage any future occupation of state land.
Lemeki said other illegal settlements that were targeted for removal were at the back of Water PNG, Entertainment Centre and at the beachfront at the back of the old treasury office.
He urged settlers to go home and focus on earning a living from their land instead of staying in town.
He said with the Covid-19 pandemic, the ENB administration was encouraging people to focus on agricultural activities and to stay in their villages and not come to town unnecessarily.
Provincial police commander Chief Insp Joseph Tabali said illegal settlements harboured criminals and were places where illegal activities such as the sale and consumption of drugs and homebrew occurred.