15 people have died in riots and looting in Papua New Guinea

15 people have died in riots and looting in Papua New Guinea By Fathimath Nasli - January 11, 2024
15 people have died in riots and looting in Papua New Guinea

Smoke rises from a building fire in Port Moresby

China has formally expressed its concern by making "solemn representations" following the targeting of Chinese shops and injuries to some Chinese citizens during a day of chaos.

Riots and looting in Papua New Guinea have resulted in a death toll of at least 15, prompting Prime Minister James Marape to appeal for calm as police staged a walkout over pay.

Eight fatalities occurred in the capital, Port Moresby, while seven were reported in Lae in the country's north. Television footage showed large crowds in Port Moresby carrying what seemed to be looted items, with black smoke rising over the city.

A police car was set on fire near the prime minister's office.

Chinese-owned businesses were targeted, leading to injuries among an unspecified number of Chinese citizens, according to the Chinese embassy.

Prime Minister Marape announced the dispatch of police reinforcements to Port Moresby, resulting in a stabilization of the situation. Soldiers were also deployed, with military vehicles present on the streets as a demonstration of strength, according to The Post Courier newspaper.

"Yesterday, the city experienced a lack of police presence, leading to instances of lawlessness in certain segments," stated Prime Minister Marape. The police initiated a strike on Wednesday morning due to a discovered reduction in their pay. An official conveyed to local radio FM100 that without police, the city had "lost control."

Beijing expressed concern by lodging "solemn representations" with Papua New Guinea in response to the unrest, citing incidents of beating, smashing, looting, and burning, with numerous Chinese shops being robbed.

Although the police have resumed work, the U.S. embassy emphasized lingering tensions, cautioning that the relative calm could change rapidly. Reports of violence in various parts of the country were received. Australian Prime

Minister Anthony Albanese mentioned that the country's high commission was closely monitoring the situation, and as of now, no requests for assistance had been received from Papua New Guinea.

Despite the ongoing struggle of the police in the Pacific Islands nation against a surge in violent crime over the past year, Albanese urged calm during these challenging times, emphasizing the strong relationship with Papua New Guinea.

Source: Al Jazeera

By Fathimath Nasli - January 11, 2024

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