He has directed additional police reinforcements and detectives to Tari to investigate the shooting.
He said the killers must be arrested and the stolen police issued firearms recovered.
Manning brushed aside suggestions that this could have been payback killing for the alleged police shootings at Erima in the National Capital District.
“It is absurd to entertain such thoughts. In fact, this thinking is an insult to the family of those who were killed at Erima. The shooting in Hela was an unfortunate and isolated incident and in no way connected with what happened in the NCD,” Manning said.
The Acting Commissioner met with Hela Governor Philip Undialu, who has offered the Hela Administration’s help with funeral arrangements for the policeman who was killed as well as medical relief for the other injured officer.
“It is sad that we are going down this road. The majority of Hela people are good people,” Manning added.
“It is only a handful who are making life difficult for everyone. So I am appealing to all the good law abiding citizens of Hela to cooperate with police and bring those cop killers to justice. The longer they remain within society, no one will be safe in Hela.”
He confirmed that 45-year-old Sergeant David Hale, the Second in Command of the Mobile Squad 9 based in Hela Province, and three other policemen were escorting the Hela Provincial Government Administrator when they were ambushed by more than 70 men from the Tokia/Kuparo village who were armed with factory made firearms and bush knives.
Manning said the attackers blocked the road at around 3pm on Tuesday October 15, disarmed the policemen and shot Sergeant Hale in cold blood. Sergeant Hale was shot dead and the other policeman, Constable James Kobol, was seriously injured.
“Luckily the two other policemen with them escaped unhurt. A combined team from the PNG Defence Force and policemen attended to the scene of the attack.
“I am appealing to the people of Hela to surrender the criminals who attacked my men and return the firearms stolen from them,” the Acting Commissioner said.
Manning offered his deepest condolences to the family and colleagues of Sergeant Hale, who comes from Salt Nomane in Gumine, Simbu Province.