Vehicle torched in remote Nuku after an armed hold up

The people of Nuku in West Sepik were alarmed by a rare armed hold up at remote Nuku Station on Monday.

Provincial Police Commander for West Sepik Moses Ibsagi yesterday confirmed the incident.

“In actual fact there was hold up in a shop,” he said.

“They got some cash and goods.”

Ibsagi though said information was sketchy and he was collaborating with the neighboring East Sepik police command to assist investigate and prosecute the criminals.

He said the criminals went into Nuku and withdrew in a ten sitter Toyota Trooper but on their return potentially to East Sepik, villagers in Nuku stoned the vehicle, it ran off the road and crashed.

The villagers then torched the vehicle.

Citizen reports from Nuku were that shop owner  resisted the criminals as well.

Communities along the Mai-Nuku Road that also connects to Wewak were alerted and they ambushed the criminals who after abandoning the vehicle escaped through the jungles between Mai and Monandin villages.

Ibsagi said apparently the torched vehicle belongs to the same owner whose vehicle was used during the robbery at Papindo in Aitape recently.

The vehicle was also torched by communities in Aitape when it was getting away to Wewak.

Ibsagi said his police officers in Nuku needed vehicle to police and respond to such crimes.

He also said logistics costs for his men to travel from Vanimo to Wewak, then to Nuku and return was quite expensive.

East Sepik Governor Allan Bird has issued a short statement on social media that it was time both police commands in East and West Sepik strategise and collaborate to stop these crimes.

“The holdup in Aitape last month was done by Sepiks who came from Lae due to the police crackdown there,” he said.

“Police suspect the hold up in Nuku is by the same group.”

He said police from Wewak would respond to a call from the provincial police commander in West Sepik (Vanimo) on the Nuku incident.

“I call on all Sepiks to report any suspicious actions of anyone who has recently come home. If they are involved in criminal activities I ask the community to report them to the police. Our police officers are doing their best. Let’s support them and clean up our community,” Bird said.

“If Sepiks coming from outside want to start a new life then make sure it is not a life of crime.”

“Let’s make our communities safe, be vigilant against all criminals who might be conducting their activities in our home.”

Western Province political leaders visit remote communities during independence

Across the vast savannah of East Trans Fly and along the mighty Fly River, the sounds of drum beats and tears of joy have never been heard louder than during this year’s independence celebrations.

The rural communities of Wipim, Kondobol and Domori celebrated Papua New Guinea’s 44th independence anniversary with the presence of their two national leaders.

Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Member for South Fly Sekie Agisa accompanied Western Governor Taboi Awi Yoto on an official visit to the communities on Independence Day.

At Wipim government station, Agisa and Governor Yoto officiated at the opening of a brand new double classroom.

The Wipim community also received funding assistance from the two MPs to celebrate independence.

The two leaders then flew to the community of Kondobol where they were also expected to open a brand new classroom.

However due to scheduling issues, the MPs could only make a brief stop-over and hand over an independence gift of K15, 000 to assist the community with independence celebrations.

Governor Yoto promised the community that they would return soon to open the classroom.

At the mouth of the mighty Fly River, the son of Domori village and Member for South Fly flew in on the chopper with the Governor.

The people of Domori reminded both leaders to be mindful of their roles and responsibilities by performing a traditional canoe dance to welcome them to the village.

Both leaders also announced the construction of new classroom facilities for Morehead High School.

Meanwhile Independence celebrations in the capital Daru received the highest level of funding of K100 000.

United States fallen servicemen repatriated to Hawaii

In a solemn moment yesterday afternoon at Jackson International Airport in Port Moresby remains of two fallen American service men who perished in Papua New Guinea 75 years ago were loaded onto a plane to be repatriated to Hawaii, United States.
This is the second mission accomplished and Mission Commander Captain Justin Harty said the recovery team worked between August 9 and September 23 and excavated a site in East Sepik.
They recovered human remains.
There were also investigations of five incidents in Oro, Enga, Western Highlands and the border of Madang and Morobe.
Asked why there could be remains of war personnel in the highlands where there was no war, he responded they could be airmen who were not too familiar flying in that terrain or weather challenges.
Further DNA tests would be done to the remains at labs and once verified relatives of the servicemen would be notified and brought over to Hawaii for a ceremony.
The families would then decide where to finally rest the remains of the servicemen.
The Defence Prisoner of War Missing in Action Accounting Agency (DPAA) aims to provide the fullest possible accounting of missing personnel to their families and the nation.
Capt Harty applauded the partnership from local people in communities they worked in, the partnership between Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, Papua New Guinea Defence Force, University of Papua New Guinea, National Museum and Art Gallery and his recovery team.
US Ambassador to PNG Catherine Ebert-Grey said: “We meet this afternoon to for an honorable purpose, to thank Papua New Guineans for watching over our fallen brothers, and to respectfully repatriate the remains of American service men.”
“ To recognise our country men who fought side by side, who died side by side and to render our final salutes.”
“We are reminded of our obligation to bring everyone back home to their countries and their families,” she said.
On a modern political view, she said the ceremony also represented the seamless teamwork between PNG and the United States and a continuation of the long history of cooperation and support between the two governments.
She said the service men lost their lives over 75 years ago when PNG was part of an epic struggle that changed history.
“In battles on land, sea and in the air, thousands of lives were lost. While most of the dead were recovered and honoured. Many were not,” she said.
She said the intense experiences of war forged an enduring bond between PNG and allied forces when the forefathers stood together, prayed together and fought together to advance human dignity.
She said the legacy the service men they honored would hope for is peace and prosperity across the Pacific.

Over K450,000 aid money from United States to promote conservation of biodiversity

The U.S. government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), launched two new grants to promote the conservation of biodiversity in biologically significant areas and improve the climate resiliency of communities in Papua New Guinea.

USAID awarded K 475,594  in grants to the Papua New Guinea Centre for Locally Managed Areas (PNGCLMA) and Mahonia Na Dari Research and Conservation Centre (MND).

USAID awarded PNGCLMA the grant Sustainability of Community Mangrove Management through Strengthening Government Partnership.

PNGCLMA will work with the Kairuku District communities and stakeholders to finalize and implement plans to strengthen the biodiversity conservation of the particularly bio-diverse mangroves of Hall Sound Bay in Central Province.

A recent study of this habitat identified a very high number of species of plants.

Through a previous USAID grant, PNGCLMA encouraged conservation activities by linking up the mud crab sellers from the communities with a seafood export company, doubling their income as a result and motivating them to restock their mangrove’s resources.

USAID awarded Mahonia Na Dari the grant Solidifying Marine Environmental Education Program (MEEP) through Teacher and Leader Outreach.

MND will train primary school teachers to effectively teach marine biodiversity education and climate change adaptation to students in Kimbe Bay,  considered a very important biodiversity hot spot, while continuing to reach out to students through themed presentations and field activities like mangrove planting and snorkeling.

Kimbe Bay hosts over half the world’s species of hard corals (413) and over 900 species of fish.

This new assistance builds on an earlier partnership between USAID and MND, which raised the marine biodiversity awareness of communities in three districts surrounding Kimbe Bay, with over 10,000 primary students reached through outreach sessions and 120 secondary and college students trained in intensive courses.

Through the Pacific-American Climate Fund, USAID has supported 28 resilience and biodiversity projects in 12 Pacific nations.

USAID awarded grants to civil society organizations in support of resilience measures that were mutually beneficial to the communities and the environment, such as livelihoods enhancement, improved health, food security, disaster risk reduction, and sustainable natural resources management.

Australia awards scholarship recipients challenged to contribute meaningfully to national development

Australian Awards Scholarship recipients have been urged to contribute meaningfully within their respective field of study they graduated from Australia.

Public Services Minister Westley Nukundj  urged them to help the country achieve the national development goals as set out in the Vision 2050, the Development Strategic Plan and the Medium Term Development Plan 3.

Minister Nukundj was speaking at the welcome reception for the awardees in Port Moresby last night.

“Be a change or champion for change in whatever you do, wherever you are placed,” he said.

“You need to demonstrate the return on investment.”

“You are a young generation of leaders we have sent you away, to learn and attain new set of skills and knowledge to inspire positive changes, by instilling your new learnings, life experiences , discipline and becoming agents of change to drive change in our country,” he said.

He thanked the Government of Australia for supporting this partnership and every time taking it to new heights and creating a brighter path for Papua New Guineans.

“Australia funded scholarship is longstanding and is well regarded in PNG and is aligned more closely to the priorities of the Government of Papua New Guinea,” he said.

“ With that I acknowledge and thank the Government of Australia for the ongoing investments in the PNG human resources to achieve government’s key priority outcomes.”

The PNG-Australia Partnership, through this scholarship program is very significant as; it provides Papua New Guinean, men and women with skills and knowledge to contribute to PNG’s economic and social development within the priority areas of the PNG National Government as well as it empowers them (women and men) to actively participate in the development of the civil society,” he said.

Since the inception of this partnership twenty (20) years ago, over 11,000 plus Papua New Guineans have benefited studying in Australia, who have attained quality Australian higher education qualifications degrees.

  • Since 2012 almost 300 Public Servants have been awarded Australian Award Scholarship.
  • Of these 40% (124) were awarded to Sub-National (Provinces) and 60% awarded to National level agencies.
  • These Australia Award Scholarship alumni represent 19 out of 22 Province.
  • Of the alumni returning to the Public Sector,61% returning contributed towards the development of Papua New Guinea through application of new knowledge and skills at their respective workplaces , 25% upon returning contributed towards development of Government Policies at National level while 14% shared their knowledge and skills by way of transferring, eg. teachers, lecturers, medical doctors.


Queen Alexandra Birdwing butterfly may not be unique to Oro

There is evidence of the world’s largest Queen Alexandra Birdwing Butterfly found in the Inaina area of Kairuku, Central Province.
If it can be further proven to be so, it will not be unique only to the Managalas plateau of the Oro Province.
Executive Director of Partners with Melanesia Ken Mondiai revealed today at the FM100 Talk Back show.
He said he was working at the Inaina Wildlife Management area with people when he noticed the butterfly which had huge wings, was green and had some black spots, and a bit of yellow.
“I’ve seen many of that in the Managalas plateau,” he said.
They brought in an entomologist, Cornwall Nukara who is from the Oro Province and was quite well versed with the Queen Alexandra Birdwing Butterfly-it’s total wing span is about 30cm.
After concluding a four days survey at Inaina, he confirmed there was evidence of the presence of the Queen Alexandra Birdwing Butterfly.
He however said the other two second and third largest butterflies, the Goliath Birdwing Butterfly (15-18 cm total wing span) and the Niugini Birdwing Butterfly (6-10cm total wing span) lived in the area.
He said they would now work to develop a habitat for the Queen Alexandra Butterfly by planting the vines that it feeds on to attract them and further conclusions can be ascertained.
Nukara was surprised the vines species found in Managalas where the world’s largest butterfly feeds from was also found at Inaina.
There is concern however that over population which had increased to over 1000 from 300 and logging development in the area pose threats to destruction of their habitats.

Stop chewing betel nut

Teachers and parents of students attending the Gordon International School in Port Moresby have been warned of the dangers of unhealthy lifestyles.

Former board chairman Stanislaw Stevens Tao said “we have witnessed a number of diseases because of lifestyle.”

He identified diabetes, HIV/AIDS, TB and mouth cancer as most concerning.

Mr Tao currently heads the West New Britain Provincial Health Authority.

“We can avoid these diseases if we behave and watch what we eat,” he spoke during the schools silver jubilee commemoration last Thursday.

“Health is everybody’s business,” he stressed.

He appealed to parents to be role models warning them to stop chewing betel nut.

“It’s time to stop chewing betel nut,” he was forthright.

He said WHO report indicated half a million people get mouth cancer every year and its mostly because of betel nut.

“People call it the green gold, I call it the ‘green disease’,” he said.

Mr Tao also appealed to parents to feed children with organic food.

“It’s about time parents take the lead,” he said.

Students performed some traditional dances after listening to Mr Tao.