By JUNIOR UKAHA
A COMPOUND belonging to the Central provincial government at 14-Mile, outside Port Moresby, was burnt down by police because residents there were suspected of harbouring criminals, The National reports.
Central police commander, John Maru, said the place was known as a "transit point" and a haven for drug traffickers who smuggled drugs from Goilala to sell in Port Moresby.
He said based on community complaints and police intelligence information, Central police moved in and razed the home.
A senior officer at the 15-Mile police station said the building had been condemned but the tenants, mostly of Goilala origin, illegally settled there and harboured drug traffickers, making money out of the trade.
"This is a hideout for notorious criminals," Maru said.
"This is the reason why police needed to get rid of the property.
"We want the place to be free of thugs and law-breakers," he said.
The tenants said police did not explain why their homes had been razed.
Amei Evarista, who lost her home and all her property including K180, was unhappy with the police action.
"They should have explained their action," she said.
"I have lost my home and my belongings in the fire."
Tenant Chris John denied that they harboured criminals and that they did not know what the police were talking about.
"Eight units have been burnt down and 10 families are affected," John said.
He said they were now living in make-shift shelters and were asking local MPs to help them relocate elsewhere.