The National – Monday, January 31, 2011
By ISAAC NICHOLAS and JUNIOR UKAHA
TARI-Pori MP and Education Minister James Marape has called for a re-look at vagrancy laws when condemning the ethnic clashes over the weekend between people of his Hela region and Enga.
Moresby Northeast MP Andrew Mald had also condemned the clashes, saying: “Such primitive attitudes” must stop as Port Moresby city and Gordon market are not owned by Taris or Engans.
Marape said: “As an MP, I am not happy. If there is any truth that Taris are involved, I appeal to the majority of the law-abiding citizens of Tari to hand over the culprits to police.”
He said there had been a number of ethnic clashes between the people of Tari, Goilala and Wabag.
“I condemn such uncivilised behaviour in a modern developing city and the nation’s capital.”
Marape said the Tari name had been mentioned but it must be made very clear that Hela has three big electorates of Tari-Pori, Komo-Margarima and Koroba-Lake Kopiago and some, from the Enga side of the border who speak the same language, are called Taris as well.
“I am disturbed and disheartened by the continuous use of the name Tari and I call on real Taris to bring those responsible to police.”
Marape said he was putting together a database of all Tari people living in Port Moresby for an evacuation exercise to be conducted on Taris doing nothing in Port Moresby back to their home.
“Those who are doing nothing except cause trouble will be evacuated back to Tari.
“The majority is hardworking and peaceful and we will find the troublemakers and get police to arrest them,” Marape said.
“I appeal for calm, dialogue and the law and justice sector to do its job in arresting those breaking the laws.
“We must stop this unnecessary act in a modern city.
“We must rethink the Vagrancy Act to restrict the movement of people into the city.”
Hela leaders in the National Capital District (NCD) have also condemned the clash.
Tari leaders Peter Andaja, Angalia Itu and Paka Irape, in a joint statement, said they were “sick and tired” of “senseless killing by their people” and encouraged them to go back home and participate in the LNG project taking place on their land.
“We call on all Helas doing nothing here to go back home and participate in the spin-offs of the LNG project on their land,” they said.
“We are ashamed to see Hela people fighting over small things like beer and buai in the city and spoiling the names of all law-abiding and good-natured Hela people in the country,” the leaders said.
“We are in the city to make business, send our children to school and find employment and not to constantly fight over trivial matters,” they added.
The fight between the two groups started last Thursday afternoon and spread over the weekend, reportedly claiming five lives and seriously injuring many.