Radio New Zealand International, 6 April 2012
A worker in Papua New Guinea’s LNG Project says he witnessed police shooting one of his colleagues dead after a row at a project camp in the Southern Highlands region. The alleged Tuesday incident at the Tamadegi camp stemmed from a heated discussion between workers at the project and Mobile Squad officers attached to the project. The workers accused the police officers of assaulting local villagers linked to a landowner dispute with the project.
One of the workers for Spiecapag Niugini, who are responsible for pipeline construction, known as Mike, says a fracas broke out after some of the local workers began throwing rocks.
“Then these police got up and then opened fire on all the employees who were unarmed. They didn’t even have any bushknives, they were just only throwing stones. They (police) started firing at an employee, I mean, they didn’t give a warning shot by shooting the bullets away, they just aimed straight at an employee that resulted in one of these employees got shot and then died.”
The LNG project operator, Esso Highlands Ltd, says it understands a man died but that the cause of death is not known. A spokesperson for Esso says it’s also unknown whether the death was related to a reported breach of security at the Tamadegi camp. An investigation is underway.