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SWEEPING measures including a ban on the sale of alcohol, a curfew, and eviction of settlers were imposed yesterday as the Madang provincial government responded to an upsurge in violent crimes in the province.
Madang residents were this week horrified by the attack on an elderly expatriate woman, a long-time resident of the town.
Armed men allegedly broke into her house, attacked and raped her before ransacking the house.
Police responded quickly by rounding up 25 suspects, six of them identified as prime suspects picked up at a settlement.
They are still being questioned, and charges are expected to be laid soon.
The Madang provincial executive council led by Governor Sir Arnold Amet met yesterday and agreed to a number of measures.
These include a province-wide ban on the sale of liquor starting next Thursday.
A curfew is also to be imposed, restricting the movement of people between 10pm and 6am.
However, this will happen after legal clearance is obtained from the departments of Provincial and Local Government Affairs and Attorney-General.
The Madang PEC is asking the departments whether there are any provisions under the Organic Law on Provincial and Local Level Governments that allow it to recommend or impose a curfew. Sir Arnold said after the PEC meeting that the alcohol ban would be effective for the next two months.
He said only hotels and lodges would be allowed to sell alcohol to their guests with meals.
Sir Arnold said that curfew had its own laws and the PEC must make sure that things were done legally, following all curfew laws.
“Mi no tok mipela bait tok nogat long curfew tasol mipela mas kisim legal advice pastaim, (I’m not saying no to curfew but we have to seek legal advice first),” he said.
He said that he did not want to rush things as there were legal implications.
The PEC also gave instructions for all illegal settlers occupying State land to voluntary vacate them and return home.
Police have also issued notices to the PHQ compound to identify illegal people residing in the area, while other settlements around town will be conducting household census and identify genuine settlers and non-genuine settlers.
Sir Arnold said all settlements would go through the identification process and illegal settlers should start going back home before police carry out the eviction exercise.
He said the eviction exercise would begin as soon as all genuine settlers were identified, the process for which will start straightaway.
The settlements are Portion 50, Raun Wara, Public Tank, Bilaiu Mausroad to Airport, Govstoa, Kerema Compound, Banana Block, DCA Compound to James Barnes, Sisiak 1, 2 and 3 and other illegal settlement around the town.
He said all these settlement and others squatting on State land would go through the identification process and non-settlers would be evicted.
The PEC also resolved to set up roadblocks to monitor unregistered and illegal use of vehicles.