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Papua New Guinea’s former opposition leader Belden Namah says Prime Minister James Marape never answered in detail the questions he asked in Parliament this week about the Enga massacre

Namah, the Vanimo Green MP, said he was dissatisfied with the response Marape presented in Parliament yesterday as the death toll from the Wapenamanda killings rose to about 70.

“He never answered any one of my questions,” he said angrily.

“I would have expected him to say, yes, we are putting together a special force from the police and the military to go in there and go after the warlords, go after the murderers.”

“We have funding allocated separately for that. We have the capacity, the policemen and women have enough uniforms, three sets of uniforms, they have allowance, these are the sort of preparedness I was looking for the PM to tell me when I was talking about combat readiness.

“We are sending the same old people, the soldiers and the police and they are fraternising with the tribal fighters, with the lot of people on the ground and not effecting any arrests.

“In fact, they are standing around with the warriors carrying their guns, soldiers and police carrying their guns, where are we heading?” he asked.

‘I wanted PM to go hard’
“I wanted the Prime Minister to come to the floor of Parliament and say my government is going to do this and do that, and go hard on these people.

“The death toll has gone up to 70, it’s not a small number, it’s hit news media everywhere in the world.

“It is not about this 70 only, it started in his electorate, in his province and I would have expected that he would put in place counter measures for this.

“He has not. Police have their own intelligence officers, military have their own intelligence, [and] the government has its own.

“They should be out there penetrating the tribal villages collecting information and then send in special forces — that’s what I mean by having the government ready to counter these kinds of activities.

“And if the force was in readiness, they would have put [it] forward.”

Namah said Marape’s response yesterday demonstrated that the government was not interested in sorting out the security issues in the Highlands-affected areas.

Police chief on notice
Prime Minister Marape told Parliament that Police Commissioner Davd Manning had been put on notice to ensure the country was secured.

Marape addressed the pressing issues of lawlessness raised during a parliamentary session this week, singling out that a plan to incorporate all suggestions by MPs –– including the Enga massacre and others.

Gorethy Kenneth is a senior Post-Courier journalist. Republished with permission.

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