Mondiai: Lae’s fighting zone status to be reviewed

National, Normal

The National,Friday20January 2012

THE fighting zone status declared in Lae, Morobe, at the beginning of November will be reviewed before it ends on Jan 31.
Lae metropolitan commander Supt Nema Mondiai said they wanted to see if there was a need for an extension.
Mondiai believed everything had returned to normal.
He said if there were any signs of further trouble, police would address the situation.
A fighting zone was declared after ethnic violence erupted between Morobeans and highlanders over the continuous harassment of people by street vendors and loiterers, mainly from the highlands region.
The clashes resulted in the removal of some illegal settlements in the city and the banning of vending on city streets.
An alcohol ban was imposed in Lae and surrounding areas.
Mondiai also questioned whether the K8 million allocation by the government to curb the crisis had been released.
He said he did not know whether such funding had been disbursed for the special operations in Lae.
But the police commissioner’s office in Port Moresby described the K8 million as “fictitious”.
 The commissioner’s chief executive officer, Andrew Sterns, said the department had asked for K2 million for the special operations but was only given K500,000.