NIPA district administrator Robin Pip says the Nipa section of the Highlands Highway, between Mendi and Tari, is now relatively safe for travellers.
“Unlike the past 15 years, there is no more anarchy, violence and other lawlessness activities,” he said.
Mr Pip said the Nipa people had given up their bad ways, especially in terrorising the Nipa section of the highway.
Commuters from Tari and Hela had travelled in fear as they were subject to constant armed hold- ups, threats, intimidations, rape, harassment and theft.
There was a general feeling of hatred between the two biggest ethnic groups in the Southern Highlands, the Helas and Nipas.
Many of these were political-related disputes as the two sides battle for the province’s political post, the governor’s seat.
Mr Pip said the highway was now free from all forms of road blocks, armed hold-ups, robbery and harassments that portrayed Nipa as the “wild west” with no regard for the rule of law.
Mr Pip said he had worked hard in the last three years with his team of reserve policemen and peace and good order committee members to educate the people to keep the highway safe .
“Now that the highway is safe, the Nipa people are ready to participate in any spin-off activities generated by the multi-billion-kina PNG LNG project.
“Nipa has been in the media spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
“Now it is time to rebuild the image as a peaceful place with friendly people,” he said.