Several killed in Lae confrontation

Four people were killed in Lae this morning during a confrontation between would-be looters and police.

In a press briefing this afternoon, Assistant Commissioner of Police - Northern Command, Peter Guinness, said opportunists did not fear for their lives when they rushed to break into shops and business houses. 

“Several of those would-be looters were shot and they’re now at the morgue; four confirmed dead and eight casualties,” ACP Guinness told Lae media in the presence of the Morobe Provincial Administrator, Max Bruten, and the team leaders of the joint forces. 

For those that were injured, Guinness could not confirm the extent of their injuries, but said they sustained bullet wounds and are admitted at the ANGAU Memorial Provincial Hospital.

“We did not want to do that. We were only doing what we are mandated to do, and that is to protect lives and properties,” he said. 

“They came without even considering their own lives. They thought that they could come out and do whatever they wanted to do - like in Port Moresby. Things got out of hand in Port Moresby. People thought that would be the same in Lae but it did not happen as they had anticipated.”

ACP Guinness said Lae police were short by 59 as their peers were sent to support NCD police yesterday evening. However, their numbers were greatly boosted by their colleagues from the Correctional Services and PNG Defence Force. 

Peace has now been restored in Lae, with ACP Guinness saying it will be business as usual in PNG’s second-largest city tomorrow. However, those intending to cause disruptions will be dealt with, as was shown today in all the suburbs of Lae.

“The police, the Defence and the CS will be out in all the public areas; main shopping centres, public bus stops and at the Main Market. They will be watching and they will be monitoring the situation.” 

Aside from damages, no shops were looted in town or Eriku. Attempts were made at Chemica, at Taraka, and also at Agmark Coffee at Five-Mile. Coffee bags were taken out but dropped immediately when police arrived. 

“We were able to recover all the coffee bags,” said ACP Guinness. 

“No shops were looted in Lae city.” 

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