Friday, December 19, 2008


 NCD police demolish notorious settlement



TETE settlement on the outskirts of Gerehu suburb in Port Moresby was bulldozed and razed to the ground by NCD police yesterday, The National newspaper reports.

Hundreds of setters have been left homeless, with many fleeing the area with their belongings yesterday afternoon when the police operation started.

The police operation followed a public outcry against the notorious settlement, which has a long history of criminal activity, following the brutal murder of businessman Sir George Constantinou on Tuesday afternoon.

After the killing, police had given the Tete community a 24-hour ultimatum to hand over all the criminals involved.

Police personnel from all stations in the nation’s capital went to the settlement around 2pm and began bulldozing it, setting alight buildings and chopping down trees on one side of the settlement.

They are expected to continue the operation on the other side today after an afternoon downpour disrupted yesterday’s demolition job.

Tete is one of the worst settlements in Port Moresby, where law and order problems have been rife over the years, including murders, rapes and robberies.

Police said other settlements with a similar reputation including Kipo, Garden Hills, Eight-Mile, Two-Mile, among others, would be next on the list.

“Police will do the same to these settlements if they continue on with their illegal activities,” NCD metropolitan commander Supt Fred Yakasa told

The National at Tete while the police demolition operation was underway.

Supt Yakasa said the police were

razing the settlement because its

leaders had repeatedly failed to take responsibility for containing the problems over a long period.

Two D6 bulldozers and a chainsaw machine were used to demolish the settlement.

“I gave the command, and I take full responsibility as the responsible State agency,” Supt Yakasa said.

Supt Yakasa described Nigibata Road in Gerehu, next to Tete settlement, as a dangerous road.

He said the general public using the road were always in fear of being attacked, which denied their right to move around freely.

Supt Yakasa said numerous armed hold-ups, robberies, rapes and killings had occurred on that section of the road.

“Enough is enough, the State has to come in and do everything it can to wipe it out,” he said.

Supt Yakasa said although not all settlers were criminals, everybody paid the price for the actions of the criminals.

He said there was no room for such perpetrators to live there and continuously destroy innocent lives.

Supt Yakasa said since PNG was experiencing an economic boom, Gerehu needed to be cleaned up so that potential investors could come and set up businesses.

“There will be no more resettlement here, proper urban development can take place,” he said.

However, some community leaders from the Motu-Koita district of Central province, who were at the site, said Tete settlement was not State land but customary land.

The National visited the site and saw settlers fleeing with their belongings, while only a few remained to see what was happening.

Many were seeking shelter with relatives in other settlements and in the city.

Looters tried to ransack the burning buildings, but police ordered them out.

According to settler Matthew Kila, from Goilala in the Central province, who was a key figure in apprehending the suspects in Sir George’s killing, community leaders had cooperated by handing over the suspects to police.

He said no proper identification had been done to determine who the real culprits were before police bulldozed everything.

“Some of us are innocent people, we are now suffering. Where do we live and eat,” Mr Kila said.

“Tete is occupied by people from all over Papua New Guinea and where will they go?

“Is the Government going to provide food for those innocent people?” he questioned.

He called on the Government to repatriate the settlers back to their respective provinces in a humanitarian way.

Secretary general of NGOs and Civil Society Policy and Partners, Philip Kepan, said Government services were not reaching many parts of PNG, which had resulted in people flooding into major towns and cities and becoming involved in criminal activities.

Mr Kepan said in order to clamp down on escalating law and order problems, the Government should provide tangible services to every community in every district and province of the country.


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