No one shot: Wagambie

Assistant Commissioner of Police and Divisional Commander for NCD & Central, Anthony Wagambie Jr has released a statement regarding the confrontation that occurred between several Police and Defence Force personnel at the Boroko Police Station today.

ACP Wagambie Jr said, There was a confrontation between a couple of PNGDF personnel and Police this morning in front of the Boroko Police Station in the National Capital District that stemmed from an incident last Saturday which involved an off-duty PNGDF member. 

The PNGDF member lodged an official complaint at the Boroko Police Station yesterday (Sunday 21 November), where he alleged misconduct by certain members of the NCD Police. 

ACP Wagambie Jnr yesterday directed that the complaint be facilitated by a Commissioned Officer to ensure urgency with prioritizing and dealing with the complaint.  

This morning the soldier turned up at the Boroko Police Station and was taken to the Police Station Commander. PSC Boroko was already in the middle of assisting the complainant put together his statement when a confrontation erupted between certain members of the PNGDF and a lone Police unit. 

Wagambie Jr said the five members of the Police unit were outnumbered and were disarmed; their weapons and the Police issued vehicle was taken off them and driven away by the soldiers.  

The statement confirms that soldiers and police personnel sustained injuries during the confrontation but no one was shot, as widely speculated in the social media. 

A soldier who was left behind was apprehended and later handed over to the Military Police by senior police officers 

ACP Wagambie Jnr said, “We have met with senior officers and NCOs of the PNGDF this morning.  

I commend Lt Colonel Aruma, Director Land Operations, and Director Military Police Major Dorpar, all the senior officers, NCOs and members of the PNGDF who responded quickly and positively to the incident at the Boroko Police Station.  

My officers and I were at Boroko Police Station where we met with the PNGDF hierarchy to ensure the situation was contained and did not escalate.”  

He added, “I assure the members of the PNGDF that the complaint registered by one of our soldiers from an incident over the weekend is being dealt with. I have given directives for the complaint to be transferred from PSC Boroko to Internal Investigation Unit Boroko. The previous incident leading to the soldier laying a formal complaint is being investigated by Internal Investigations Unit.  

We have a very effective Internal Investigation Unit. Since taking office in late 2019, my management team and I have given full backing to Internal Investigations to ensure all reports of misconduct by Police are thoroughly investigated,” said ACP Wagambie 

He further stated, “The fact that while the report was being taken, a confrontation ensued outside the Police Station is uncalled for. As members of the PNGDF, discipline must be exercised at all times. 

The ACP commented, “The PNGDF has a very colorful history which we are all proud of. We see the PNGDF as our strength, not only for external security but for internal security back up when the need arises. 

Therefore whilst this is being looked into, I will also appeal to the PNGDF leadership to ensure units are kept intact and for necessary action to be taken on those who assaulted and commandeered a Police allocated vehicle.”  

He said, two wrongs do not make a right and as disciplined offices, they must all work within their codes of conduct. 

The ACP said, “I want to assure members of the public, PNGDF and police personnel, that the situation is now under control.   

Police and PNGDF hierarchy have met and we have resolved to have this incident dealt with at the earliest.  

I have respect for the PNGDF and the members who serve in it.”  

ACP Wagambie Jr acknowledged that, “What happened today does not reflect the Military as a whole. This was from individuals who acted alone without the knowledge of their command element. This incident must not tarnish the reputation of the good men and women of the PNGDF. 

He thanked the PNGDF senior officers and Military Police for ensuring the police vehicle and one firearm was returned to Boroko Police Station.  

We will continue to work closely with our counterparts. All Police units are performing normal daily operations. 

The Police and PNGDF must ensure cordial relations exist for the benefit of the country.”  

Marysila Kellerton