Group fights eviction

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday October 29th, 2013

 A GROUP of squatters in Port Moresby claim police officers again tried to evict them last week despite a court order and two directives from their superiors not to do so.

The squatters live near the Waigani Arts Centre.  

Leaders Wilson Kuyako, Thomas Yalbees, Waken Nakisi and Ben Lunga said the police officers entered the settlement at about midday last Thursday. They claimed they were harassed and some of their homes burnt.

They had to seek the help of Assistant Police Commissioner Jim Andrews who sent his chief executive officer and other police units to save them.

The 3,755 settlers had taken out a restraining order on March 3 to stop their eviction by a company that owns the land. The settlers were first evicted by police in an operation that left hundreds homeless and thousands of kina worth of properties either destroyed or confiscated.

The eviction was in breach of two directives from Andrews, the divisional police commander in NCD and Central. He had directed all units to stop further eviction in light of the court order.  The instruction was issued on April 5.

The police unit from Gordon Police Station conducted another eviction attempt on Oct 10. They raided the settlement, burnt five houses, confiscated store goods and a generator among other items. They arrested some of the leaders.

Andrews issued a second directive on Oct 14 saying: “I have directed your office to advise all units under your command to stop further eviction after the settlers successfully obtained a court order from Waigani National Court on March 14, 2013, restraining police from conducting further eviction.

“However, despite that you have gone ahead and directed 2IC Police Station Commander Gordon, Senior Sgt Hanson Tokali to lead about five cars to conduct the eviction on Oct 10. At this juncture, I have no option but to stop all units from NCD under our command to further cause eviction when the matter is still on foot at the National Court.”