Porgera leaders condemn assault on policemen

Porgera community leaders have condemned the violent ambush of police deployed to Porgera to address the law and order issues that have been growing out of control over the past month.

Speaking after the attack on police on Sunday night that left two officers with extremely serious gunshot injuries, the former chairman of the Porgera Landowners Association, Mark Tony Ekepa, and the Chair of the Porgera District Women’s Association, Serah Erasi, said the actions of the perpetrators were a further example of the mindless behaviour of a violent group of outsider criminals who are causing great fear and disruption in Porgera.

“We want peace in our valley and we utterly condemn this latest outbreak of criminal violence,” Ekepa and Erasi said.

“The police are here at the invitation of our communities to restore peace and order to our district, and they do not deserve to be attacked by violent criminals in this way.

“We understand that the police were travelling on the Porgera Highway near Suyan late on Sunday night, when they were ambushed by a group of approximately ten men armed with high-powered firearms.

“Two of the police officers were injured by gunfire during the ambush, and sustained extremely serious injuries as a result of this cowardly criminal attack.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with these brave men, who, with the assistance of the Porgera Joint Venture, have now been evacuated to Port Moresby for urgent medical care.

“We and our communities are completely committed to supporting the current police deployments in Porgera, and we call on anyone in the community who knows who these criminals are to bring that information to the police.

“We want to see justice done, and for the attackers to be arrested and dealt with in accordance with the law of our country for what they have done,” they said.

Following the January 5th attack, Police Commissioner David Manning called on Papua New Guineans to respect policemen and assist them in their duties instead of attacking them.

“The number of policemen actually attacked and killed by the public has increased considerably over the last ten years and this is alarming. These attacks cannot continue unchecked so I appeal to the public to please stop attacking policemen who are there to protect and serve you.

“For this latest attack, I will ensure that all resources and manpower are made available to bring to justice those responsible.”

(Senior Constable Semi Tinga, second in command of Mt Hagen based Mobile Squad 5, arriving at the Port Moresby Jackson’s airport after being shot in the right upper thigh during the ambush on Sunday night)

Press release