PNGDF 14-day probe of Kupiano incident

The Chief of the PNG Defence Force, Major General Mark Goina in a press conference yesterday, stated that the PNGDF is conducting a 14-day investigation into the Kupiano incident.

The training incident has left two dead and two injured; a civilian included.

Commander Goina said, “Our investigation is being conducted separate to, but in concert with, a police investigation. We are cooperating fully with the police and their investigation.”

“The first members of our investigation team were on site late yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon. The team comprises very experienced and senior members of the PNGDF. Those who have a thorough understanding or our training, legal, medical, and ammunition management and supply system.”

The Commander says their terms of reference require them to investigate every aspect of the incident, and the immediate lead up to and aftermath, in order to understand how such a tragic incident occurred.

“The team have been given 14 days to do this; at which point their findings will be forwarded to me via the Deputy Chief of Defence Force. It is possible they may require an extension to ensure the thoroughness of their report; such a request will be considered on its merits; and if this occurs, the families of the deceased will be informed, as will the media. The families and those injured will also be briefed on the report’s outcome,” MAJGEN Goina stated.

Subsequent to dealing with the investigation outcomes, Commander Goina says he will convene a Board of Inquiry to consider the wider context in which this incident occurred and whether there were systemic failures that might have contributed to it.

“The PNGDF is involved in the security of our sovereignty and support our police; our business by its very nature is dangerous, where the risk of injury or death, particularly on operations is always present.

“For this reason, we have very well developed protocols – training, techniques and procedures – which we follow to both minimize and mitigate risk in both training and on operations. Safety, and duty of care are the number one priority for every leader in the Force,” added Goina.

He further stated sternly, “When we fail at this, it is incumbent on us to look closely at how they occurred, and what changes and improvements should be made. It is my intent that the Board of Inquiry be led by an eminent former member of the PNGDF, and again, include relevant subject matter experts.”

MAJGEN Goina says he will provide more details on this matter in due course.

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