Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Australian aid worker carjacked in PNG

ANOTHER Australian aid worker in Papua New Guinea's capital Port Moresby has been carjacked at gunpoint.

The female AusAID employee was returning home on Sunday night with a female friend when robbed by four men, at least two armed with firearms.

According to a widely distributed email, sent to Australian officials by security personnel, there were no injuries.

"The offenders attempted to keep the driver in the vehicle.

"The driver refused and pushed past them and ran down the hill to the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

"This particular location has experienced a number of reported carjackings in recent times," the email read.

It is the third Australian and fourth person working for the Australian aid program this year to be robbed near their home in the popular diplomatic and expatriate area, Touaguba Hill.

But numerous PNG citizens have told AAP they are also suffering a spike in violent carjackings across the city.

Last month, an Irish female media adviser with PNG's national radio station and a male Australian law and justice adviser were attacked separately on the same road.

A week before, an Australian aid adviser was carjacked and suffered "serious injuries" in an attack.

Australian High Commissioner to PNG Ian Kemish at the time met senior police to raise concerns over the carjackings.

The spate in Port Moresby is being blamed on a shortage of police, lack of political will and numerous police being deployed to protect a massive ExxonMobil resource project.

The Economist magazine regularly ranks Port Moresby as one of the five worst cities in the world to live because of violent crime, corruption and the absence of basic infrastructure.

Last November, a young group of Australian volunteers travelling in Madang, on PNG's northeast coast, was carjacked, tied up and robbed, with one woman raped.

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