Authorities Assure Peace

The Commander of the PNG Defence Force and Commissioner of Police, have jointly addressed the confrontation between members of the PNGDF and Police, at the Boroko Police Station, in NCD.

They also addressed the rough handling of a soldier by police personnel in a viral video on social media that followed.

In yesterday’s joint press, the authorities assured members of the public that the incidents that led to the confrontation and the results of those actions, will be investigated.

On Monday 22 November, a confrontation between five PNGDF personnel and five members of the Police force took place in front of the Boroko Police Station.

Commander of the PNG Defence Force Major General Gilbert Toropo and Commissioner of Police, David Manning said the issue is a result of an incident that took place last Saturday in a residential area at East Boroko. It was reported that a member of a Fox Unit had conducted a search of the private property, and during this search, members of the same unit mishandled a female, who happened to be the wife of a member of the PNGDF.

On Monday the disgruntled soldier went to the Boroko Police Station to lodge a formal complaint. He was accompanied by his colleagues. While the soldier was inside, a conflict sparked outside between his colleagues and police personnel. As a result, the soldiers made off with a police vehicle at high speed. One of them fell off the vehicle and was mishandled by the police. The episode was captured on a mobile phone and shared widely on social media, sparking outrage from his comrades.

That night members of the PNGDF marched from Taurama to Murray Barracks in protest. The PNGDF command had to step in to prevent an escalation.

Commander Toropo said the incident on Saturday will be investigated. He also condemned the actions of the five soldiers who were involved in Monday’s confrontation with police.

“The Police and PNG Defence Force has a very very strong and long relationship working together in various operations. And there are many good members of the PNG Defence Force and there are many good members of the Police force and the actions by these few is totally unacceptable and we condemn the action,” Commander Toropo said.

In addressing the roadblocks conducted by soldiers between Hohola and Boroko Foodland, Commander Toropo said the actions by the few who caused fear in the community is unacceptable.

Commissioner Manning said both state entities will not defend or make excuses for the unacceptable behavior of a few of their members, describing the incidents as both unnecessary and unfortunate.

Manning said, “It’s required that we need to show that leadership and that ownership of the issues that came about as of the last three days.”

“Just like what the military has initiated, the police has also initiated, set up both internal investigation team and a criminal investigation team.

“I apologize and I join the Commander in apologizing to members of the public and of course, apologize to all our members of both disciplined forces that remain committed to serving their country.”

Commander Toropo and Commissioner Manning echoed similar sentiments of closer collaborations in regards to investigation of the confrontation that took place yesterday and the issue that it stemmed from it, including the activities that took place last night.

Marysila Kellerton