As Wewak town prepares to welcome a huge delegation into their province, police in East Sepik Province are beefing up their operations as well to ensure order is maintained when the whole country converges in one province to bid farewell and show last respects to the Founding Father of Papua New Guinea, the Late Rt. Honourable Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare before he is laid in his final resting place at Kreer Heights.
East Sepik Provincial Police Commander Superintendent Albert Beli knows the task before him is great as thousands of Papua New Guinean’s from different aspects of life show up in numbers to honour a great leader in this young nations history.
Police anticipate a crowd in the thousands to be on the ground at the State Funeral Ceremony and Burial Program and are geared towards engaging in what is expected to be the biggest ever police operation in the province.
People from across the country including the 6 districts of the province and neighbouring provinces will grace Wewak town for this one time as the Grand Chief is laid to rest in his home town.
“Crowd control is the main focus for police operations in the province,” said Beli.
PPC Superintendent Beli said police will also act as tour guides to assist all those who are new to the province and off course the main important preparation is pointing out the strategic locations and hot spots in Wewak that police need to man.
Police will also provide escort for the dignitaries and the casket of late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare from the airport to Kreer Heights.
“Motorcyclist escort is the important part of program that we are preparing our boys for so that they can be able to provide a good escort at the time of the state funeral.”
“Police and PNG Defence Force will be in the fore front of the state funeral, and PNG Defence Force from Moem Barracks, will take full control of the state funeral while the police will be on the ground to control crowd movement, provide security and escort” said Superintendent Beli.
He stated also that police will provide static police presence on static locations to ensure the smooth flow of traffic and people during the time of the state funeral.
Currently on ground are 48 police personals from Highlands Mobile group, Mobile 06 that have being helping the police force in East Sepik Province for the last 4 months and will be there to assist police in Wewak during the state funeral of the Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare.
However Superintendent Beli expressed the need for extra manpower to boost police presence in the Province, especially in Wewak during the time of the state funeral.
“We have requested for an additional team to be deployed to Wewak from Lae, and Mobile Squad 13 in Lae will be coming in to Wewak on the 10th of March to beef up the police men power,” said Superintendent Beli.
Superintendent Beli commended the people of East Sepik for a very peaceful situation on the ground and for taking the initiative to clean in and around Wewak town at this time.
Superintendent Beli further called on all the Business houses and business communities to heed to the liquor ban instructions that have already being circulated and effective since 01st March by the Provincial Liquor Licencing Board in partnership with East Sepik Police.
He emphasised that the liquor ban ends on the 31st of this month so everyone is expected to follow instructions.
“No trade stores, retail shops or wholesale are to do illegal after hour sales and back door sales as police will come down hard you.”
He further reiterated that this applies to youths who do illegal brewing to refrain from producing, selling and consuming of homebrew.
“Everybody is expected to show respect at this time of the National Haus Krai until the day of the state funeral and burial of late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare,” said Superintendent Beli .