Cabinet to decide on fate of Vanuatu students in PNG

Vanuatu’s Cabinet is to decide today the fate of Vanuatu students studying in various tertiary institutions in Papua New Guinea amidst reports of renewed tensions between students at Goroka University.

Acting Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yvon Basil confirmed that accounts of events in PNG’s political saga will be tabled again at the Council of Ministers meeting today.

Basil said today’s briefing should assist the CoM’s decision about whether or not to repatriate 49 students from Port Moresby.

Basil said under the agreement signed between Vanuatu and the PNG governments in regard to emergency situations such as this one, the onus would be on the Vanuatu government to fly its students back home.

A Vanuatu student studying at Goroka University was quoted as saying fresh fights erupted between students from two highlands region, Chimbu and Hagen. This has resulted in 50 students with knife and stone wounds being hospitalized and one was in critical condition. The brawl happened in the university campus yesterday.

The University of Goroka Senate yesterday suspended lectures for two weeks following the riot and all primary and secondary schools were closed.

Police have moved into the area and calmed the situation but tension still hangs.

Some students say the fight is not related to UPNG protest.

It was reported that Vanuatu students have made individual contacts with relevant government authority in Port Vila and made pleas for their repatriation.

Vanuatu government sponsored students are studying at Goroka University, University of Papua New Guinea and Unitech.

In the meantime, Mr Basil has reassured parents of students concerned on their safety.

He said the CoM is likely to make a decision today.




Harold Obed