Papua New Guinea vows crackdown after 15 killed in riots


National Capital District governor Powes Parkop said the unrest represented an “unprecedented level of strife” in Port Moresby, while local newspaper the Post Courier called it the city’s “darkest day”.

“What is most important is that we must end this strife,” Parkop told a local radio station Wednesday evening.

“Nobody will be a winner in this type of civil unrest.”

Security forces staged a protest inside Papua New Guinea’s parliament after noticing their pay had been docked without explanation.

Although the government swiftly promised to fix what it described as a payroll “glitch”, it was not enough to stop disgruntled civilians from joining the fray.

The burst of violence highlights the often volatile nature of life in Papua New Guinea, a country plagued by poverty and high levels of crime.

Perched less than 200km from Australia’s northernmost border, Papua New Guinea is the largest and most populous state in Melanesia.

Although it is blessed with vast deposits of gas, gold, and minerals, human rights groups estimate that almost 40 per cent of its nine million citizens still live below the poverty line.

Australia recently inked a security deal with Papua New Guinea, promising to help its stretched police force combat arms trafficking, drug smuggling and tribal violence.

“We continue to urge calm at this difficult time,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told reporters on Thursday.

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