300 on mission to disarm and unite
THE National Government’s decision for the call-out operations in Hela Province has been received warmly by the people of Hela, especially those affected by tribal fights.
Hela Governor Francis Potape said from Tari that thousands of people from the three districts of Koroba-Kopiago, Komo-Magarima and Tari-Pori gathered as early as 7am to welcome and witness the launch of the call-out in Tari yesterday.
Mr Potape said the little town of Tari was filled with people and the atmosphere was peaceful and a relief for the people who have lived and moved around under constant threats.
He said the people were happy to see a huge presence of police and soldiers and those present were the Minister for Defence Dr Fabian Pok, Acting Police Commissioner Raphael Huafolo, Defence Commander of Opeations Colonel Numa, Minister Marape, Member for KorobaKopiago Philip Undialu and other top police and defence commanders.
Mr Potape said the message to the people was simple and that was for those in possession of guns to surrender to police their firearms within two months.
He said that the other message was for the warlords to also handover themselves voluntarily and allow peace negotiations and ceremonies, including the signing of agreements and compensation to follow later.
Mr Potape said most parts of the Highlands region have stopped tribal fights and the Hulia should also do the same.
“My message was simple and clear and that is if we stop tribal fights we can build Hela to be a city as we have the resources and the population. We have the potential to rise up, so I ask them to stop tribal fights and surrender all firearms,” he said.
He said he also announced his government’s decision to regulate tribal fights and compensation laws.
Mr Potape said tomorrow the members of the police and defence force will travel to Koroba to talk to the people.
He said they will also visit other areas like Komo, Hulia and Magarima to carry the same message appealing to the people to surrender firearms.
“As the Governor I welcomed the security forces to assist us, but my message is to stop the LNG police and increase police manpower in the province as we only have 120 personnel that is not enough for 300,000 people,” Mr Potape said.