From a special correspondent
The traditional landowners of the Tumbi quarry have called on both the Government and the Developer to immediately relocate the four major clans ( Ware, Pepe, Parakua and Imini) in a safe and secured agricultural land before they become the next people to be the victims of a landslide.
The leaders of the clans namely: Giya Hawi, Libe Hale, Tokoya Piwago, Wabe Ako, Abe Okopi, Tiki Halimbu, Tomo Warolo, Urupu Andawi, Wandipe Kau, Ekanda Timbabu, Timothy Nogobe, Ekawi Hale, Tiki Yuli, Peter Pamiari, Hiruba Yakapi, Tamita Malamu, Ekawi Tanda, Ako Tagirali, Tumbiyama Andigi, Eka Lawi, Nane Pipila, John Kuni, Pape Timbabu, Toya Komapuk, Tandali Kilip, Tabi Togola, Kula Potabe, Kupiawi Aluya, Daniel Huripa and Michael Kane told this reporter this afternoon from Tumbi village:
“We cannot look for land in another clan because they think that we are in the project area and have lots of money. People are not willing give us shelter, food, clothes, land and gardens because they think we are project landowners so we have lots of money. We are victimized by the so called Multi Million Kina project”. said Mr. Hibson Puma.
The Tumbi Quarry landowner Mr. Yogobo Piwago said, he had requested many times to the developer (Exxon Mobile) to resettle them before they work on the quarry but failed on deaf ears.
“We have been living on this land for the past 6000 years, this is the first time our mountain has killed us” said Mr. Timothy Nogobe. We therefore come to conclude that what triggered the event is the quarry and the use of Chemicals and Bombs to blast the quarry at the top of the mountain, this has changed the ground water (Tumbi and Tuku) for the rapid breakdown of the mountain Tumbi burrying alive more than 25 people. Our mountains in Hela namely ( Mount Tau-Parila, Uraga, Be-Tini, Ambua-Kelapo, Haliago and Ilu) has been tasted by earthquakes and intense rainfalls but never collapses like it did.
We support the LNG project but it must be done within laws of our country and respect the rights of the indigenous landowners and its environment. Our long journey to succesfully harvesting the benefits to our Gas depends on how well, the State and the Developer proactively and sensitively address this disaster with the victim and affected families within the Quarry Tumbi.
Mr. Hibson Puma also called on the PPC and PSC in Tari to use the Tari, Koroba and Margarima Police to provide security at the site and not hiring mobile squads from outside the Province as it is insulting to the immediate families of the deaths. We are not in war!, We need clean water, garden food, shelter and comfort. We do not need to see a high powered guns in this time of situation.
Meanwhile, other leaders of the Hela including member of Koroba Kobiago -John Kekeno and James Marabe of Tari-Pori/HTA chairman has called for a detailed investigation into the causes and triggers of the landslides and the safety and environmental practices of the developer in the daily newspapers last week.
Police in Papua New Guinea have arrested and charged the man who led last week’s failed military mutiny.
Colonel Yaura Sasa was arrested at a lodge in the Port Moresby suburb of Boroko last night.
Today he made a brief appearance in the Waigani committal court.
Outside court Colonel Sasa said he had been charged with mutiny, but that he is not guilty.
He said he does not regret his actions but that he hopes the situation will now calm down.
He also complained about his treatment at the hands of authorities
“Last night when I was down at the police headquarters I had no access to a lawyer up until now, so the procedures that I went through, it doesn’t seem right,” he said.
After the court appearance he was taken back to the Boroko police station under heavy guard.
Last Thursday, Colonel Sasa and around 20 rebel soldiers stole into Murray Barracks and took the commander of the defence force hostage.
He said he had been appointed as the new commander by Sir Michael Somare, and demanded Sir Michael be reinstated as prime minister.
But before the day was over, the commander had been freed and the rebels had withdrawn from defence headquarters.
Sir Michael is yet to comment publicly about the attempted mutiny.
WTF! You must be pulling my leg – surely?
Sonja Barry Ramoi via Facebook
In the preamble of the Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guineait is stated “that we reject violence and seek consensus as a means of solving our common problems”. Retired Colonel Yaura Sasa, who was recently recalled to active duty by Supreme Court Elect Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, upheld that very vow when he went willingly, yesterday, to Police Head Quarters in Port Moresby for questioning.
In an exclusive phone interview in the early hours of Sunday morning, Colonel Sasa advised that he had intended on presenting himself to the police in order to defuse tensions building up to a confrontation.
It is unfortunate that Colonel Sasa’s aim in publicly calling upon both the Supreme Court Elect Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and Parliament Elect Prime Minister Peter O’Neil to resolve their differences within 7 days has been misinterpreted.
Colonel Sasa is now paying the price for his courage and conviction in upholding and honouring the Constitution, however he will still go down in PNG history as a hero in the minds of many Papua New Guineans for doing just that.
“I know in my own conscience that I am okay, so no need to argue”, Colonel Sasa said – in reference to how the media has portrayed him as a mutineer.
In his first press conference, broadcast around the world, Colonel Sasa made it clear that “it is not a military coup”, it is however unclear, at this stage, what offence he has been charged with.
When I last spoke with Colonel Sasa, before his phone went dead, he was in good humour, despite hours of going through a record of interview at police HQ without his lawyer present. When I asked him what the police intend to charge him with…he replied “mutiny”.”
Political tensions flared in the resource-rich but impoverished Pacific nation on Thursday when an ex-soldier loyal to Somare staged a dramatic grab to re-take power from current premier Peter O’Neill.
Former colonel Yaura Sasa led a pre-dawn mutiny, taking captive the head of the armed forces, Francis Agwi, and declaring himself the new military leader, reinforcing the country’s reputation as politically dysfunctional.
Sasa set a seven-day deadline for Somare to be restored as leader, warning that he “may be forced to take necessary actions to protect and uphold the integrity of the constitution” if his demand was not met.
But the rebellion was soon put down with O’Neill declaring the crisis over in the evening after arresting 15 of the 30 men loyal to Sasa and securing the withdrawal of the others and the release of Agwi.
O’Neill said Sasa was being “dealt with” by the appropriate authorities with reports on Friday suggesting he was demanding a full pardon for himself and his supporters.
“He is seeking a pardon, that is what is being said, but I can’t confirm that yet,” police Superintendent Dominic Kakas told AFP.
Somare, 75, said the mutiny was a legitimate response to the O’Neill camp not recognising a Supreme Court ruling in December that he was the rightful prime minister.
“We cannot allow this situation to continue where a rogue government commandeers the disciplinary forces,” Somare said in a statement sent by his daughter Betha to AFP.
“It is incumbent on the police and army to comply with the orders of the Supreme Court and support the legitimate government, which is the minority Somare/Agiru government.
“It is for this reason that my government appointed Colonel Yaura Sasa to take control of the PNGDF (Papua New Guinea Defence Force) while we await other outcomes of the court,” he added.
“We are the legitimate government constitutionally formed in 2007 and restored by the five-men Bench of the Supreme Court.”
Known as the “Grand Chief”, Somare led PNG for almost half of its 36 years since independence but was removed from office while out of the country recovering from illness last year.
The Supreme Court subsequently declared him the rightful leader, plunging the country into turmoil before O’Neill eventually resumed the role after Governor General Michael Ogio rowed back on Somare’s appointment.
Somare has consistently refused to recognise O’Neill’s leadership, storming into parliament as recently as last week with the Supreme Court order to demand his reinstatement.
O’Neill said he may move to dissolve parliament next month and go to early polls to end the current political impasse, while lashing out at Somare’s “desperate” tactics.
“Papua New Guinea deserves better from Somare,” he said.
“Somare has to realise that this country has looked after him for 45 years; now it is his turn to respect the country that respects him.”
While the facts surrounding the tragic Hides landslide remain sketchy, prima facie evidence is being produced which indicates this was not purely a natural disaster. While it is important at this stage that people remain focused on the rescue efforts, serious attention must be given to the cause of this disaster. LNG Watch, therefore, fully supports James Marape’s (Hela Transitional Authority Chairman) call for an independent investigation into the landslide.
While the geophysics of the area may have made the landslide an inherent risk, the critical question is – did the work of ExxonMobil (or its subsidaries) increase the risk of the landslide? If so, why did the company fail to identify this risk, and put in place the proper safety measures? Moreover, the investigation must also focus on the state. It has a regulatory duty to the citizens of PNG to ensure industry conducts itself in a safe and competent manner.
We know from recent events in Madang involving the Ramu mine, that the national government prefers to see itself as a business partner, not a regulator. Has this attitude helped create the environment in which unsafe industrial practices can proliferate, leading to events such as the recent landslide?
Of course, we must be clear, LNG Watch is not accusing ExxonMobil of criminal conduct; however, fundamental questions need to be answered. The only way they can be answered to a standard that will give peace to the relatives of victims, is if an independent inquiry takes place. Moreover, this independent inquiry needs to include a broad range of experts from a variety of fields if it is to be robust. We hope the O’Neil government has the courage to break with the past business-partner model, so that this event can be scrutinised properly.
It has been revealed that Michael Somare’s son, Arthur, planned Thursday’s mutiny executed by retired colonel Yaura Sasa.
It is understood, that Arthur and a few other loyal Somare supporters, who have been residing at the Ela Beach hotel, spent some time planning the mutiny and left written notes on a white board which contained the words: MILITARY ACTION, as an action point.
The board, which was later placed in a corridor, attracted a great deal of attention by passersby.
From a small article in The Drum, the Post Courier said:
“maybe a currently suspended MP whose hotel room has been the hub for huge comings and goings for more than a week now can explain the board he left in his room when he checked out. It was there in the corridor for all to see. A strategy on how to return his father to power and No 4 on the list? Military Action! Maybe just a coincidence after the clownish performance by the retired colonel?”
Several other officers involved in the mutiny have admitted that the Somares gave the orders to place PNGDF Commander Timothy Agwi and others under house arrest.
P. Sharp, Master mariner
Does Sir Peter Barter hold a commercial master’s certificate of competence to allow him to be the captain of the Kalibobo Spirit as has been mentioned in both newspapers?
If so what grade of master’s certificate of competency does he hold?
How did Sir Peter accumulate the necessary sea time to sit for and pass his certificate of competency?
He started work in PNG as a Talair pilot then went on to be a tour operator. What ship(s) did he serve on to get his sea time?
When did Sir Peter pass his certificates and at what institution and when did he receive a certificate of recognition or was he just “given” a certificate by someone who liked him?
If so, why does everyone else have to do the sea time and what happens if there is an accident?