Fijians on alert as riot breaks out in PNG

The destroyed Air Nuigini Dash 8 at Mendi Airport Picture: RNZ

FIJIANS living in Papua New Guinea have been put on alert after a major riot broke out in Mendi, the provincial city of the Southern Highlands Province this week.

Confirming this, Fiji’s High Commissioner to PNG, Esala Teleni said his office had also issued precautionary notices to ensure the safety of Fijians as tension in the country intensified.

Mr Teleni said 725 Fijians were registered at the commission to be living or working in PNG, however, he was unaware of those who were not registered.

The riot follows PNG’s Waigani National Court’s ruling, dismissing an election petition filed by a candidate against Southern Highland’s Governor, William Powi.

Mr Teleni said all Fijians in PNG were safe, but the commission had taken a proactive stand in warning them about the riot happening in the highlands.

“All Fijians are safe and secure especially those who are working and living in the highland provinces,” Mr Teleni said.

“The high commission also sent out precautionary notices and awareness to members of the Fijian community at large.”

Protesters from the area on Thursday burned down a plane, forcing PNG authorities to close down the airport.

The court complex and Mr Powi’s house with some other buildings were also set on fire.

Mendi Province is the hometown of PNG’s Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, who had said the events on Thursday were a sad and an embarrassing day for PNG.

PNG’s Government has declared a state of emergency in the province.

More Stories