Manning: To save lives, soldiers directed to shoot and arrest

Commissioner of Police, David Manning, has met with police commanders, local leaders and administrators in Enga Province to review the current security response following tribal fighting on the weekend.

Commissioner Manning and the Enga Provincial Administrator, Tsandis Tsaka, received operational briefings from Provincial Police Commander Superintendent George Kakas and Wabag Police Station Commander, Inspector Patrick Peka, as well as the Director of Enga Law and Order Committee, Nelson Leia.

The Commissioner also viewed the fighting area where the recent clash took place and its proximity to related villages that have been part of the ongoing conflict.

"The situation on the ground has returned to relative normalcy with no renewed fighting however we are not dropping our guard," Commissioner Manning said.

"We have had the opportunity to review operational plans for enhancing security engagement in Enga and this is what you could call a peace enforcement operation.

"l have also appointed all PNGDF members deployed to Enga, Hela and SHP as Special Constables. This gives soldiers the power and protection they need to do their jobs, including the authority to make arrests and where required, to discharge their weapons to save innocent lives and people's property.”

Manning said any further attempt to cause trouble will be dealt with harshly, and any tribesman who raises a weapon will more than likely be shot by security forces.

"The acts of barbaric violence that took place over those hours on Sunday disgusts the nation and they demand a hard response.

"It is also clear that those killed and the bodies recovered by police were not innocent bystanders, but were hired guns who kill for money.

"There is no sorrow for a domestic terrorist who gets killed and our concern is for the welfare of the innocent who just want to have a safe life,” he added.

"Police can confirm that 49 bodies have been recovered at this point, 37 were recovered on Sunday and a further 12 on Monday.”

Manning said additional bodies may be found as police continue to search the area. Police and local officials continue to engage with community leaders to quieten lingering tension.

"Preventing further tension is a challenge when you consider the generations of fighting that have gone on between these tribes, but we are having success,” he added.

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