Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Crimes and Commander of the Investigative Task Force (ITF) in Mendi, Hodges Ette, alleged that the defendant, who is a local policeman, negligently and without lawful reasons discharged a firearm resulting in the pellet which ricocheted and caused the death of another person.
The policeman, Constable Moses Snow of Kware village in Nipa, and attached to Nipa Police Station, was arrested and charged for the murder of the youth. The incident occurred last weekend.
The deceased’s relatives retaliated and burnt the police house occupied by the accused and severely damaged some other police houses including the Nipa police station. Most of the officers from Nipa police station were not there at the time of the incident.
The accused was apprehended at his village and taken to Mendi police station for questioning. He was formally arrested and charged for murder and will briefly appear at Nipa district court.
The co-accused is still at large.
Ette said the accused officer has been criminally charged and will be administratively dealt with later due to the seriousness of the offence. This will also serve as a lesson for other officers.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Ette has also called on all members of the security forces operating within the Southern Highlands Province to conduct themselves with caution and professionalism.
“Our conduct must be geared towards winning the trust of our people particularly at this juncture when the security forces have been deployed to Southern Highlands, and its capital Mendi in an attempt to restore the credibility and integrity of the policing services in the Province and restore normalcy of government services,” Ette said.
Commissioner of Police Gari Baki and the top management have strongly condemned the actions of the accused officer and want the member to be dealt with criminally, as it is not only unethical but a serious criminal conduct.
“Such conduct of very few members of the force continues to unduly damage the image of the Constabulary and undermine commendable efforts exerted by security personnel on the ground mostly under very trying conditions,” stated Baki.
Meantime, the Nipa police station is unsuitable for use whilst investigation continues.