Mubi landowners build camp at site

National, Normal


LANDOWNERS from the Mubi valve station in Kutubu, Southern Highlands, where part of construction works on the rich liquefied natural gas pipeline activities are underway, have started building makeshift homes in order to get government and Oil Search Ltd to honour a memorandum of agreement signed in 2004.
Members of Munti clan, as well as others, who travelled as far as Pimaga and Kantobo, have started building their temporary homes where the construction site is.
These makeshift shelters are part of a local peaceful gathering in a bid to attract government representative to discuss their issues, and were no threat to the multi-billion kina gas project.
Police in the province confirmed that locals were settling in the area but their protest was peaceful and would not affect normal operations of the LNG project.
Development activities going on in the area were the construction of a bridge and road works by contractor Clough Curtain Brothers Joint Venture.
Port Moresby-based police mobile squad two (MS02), who were redeployed into the area last Friday from Tari, were keeping a close watch on the situation.
They were part of the 30-man police squad who were tasked to provide security at Kikori and Kopi in Gulf and Southern Highland’s Gobe.
The decision to have the police squads redeployed came after an emergency meeting last Thursday afternoon where the National Executive Council approved the release of K10 million for security operations.
This was purposely to put down fears among investors over the rising landowner issues such as employment opportunities and other issues.
NEC’s intervention was triggered by recent protests by villagers for a stop work on the gas pipeline from Kopi to Kaiam and Mubi crossing.
Attempts to get comments from Oil Search and ExxonMobil were unsuccessful.