Soldiers rampaged through detention centre: Police

Police are claiming the Papua New Guinea Defence Force soldiers, based at the Lombrum Naval Base on Manus Island, went on a rampage at the asylum detention centre on Good Friday.

In a statement, the Royal PNG Constabulary said soldiers fired several shots into the air and indiscriminately assaulted policemen, PNG Immigration officers, other service providers and asylum seekers.

The incident occurred on Friday, April 14, at about 6.30pm at the Manus Regional Processing Centre.

Manus provincial police commander, Senior Inspector David Lapu, said a group of drunken soldiers, in retaliation for one of their colleagues, who was allegedly assaulted by an asylum seeker, entered the centre, shouting and throwing objects at the asylum seekers.

He said the soldiers also assaulted his policemen on deployment at the centre, PNG immigration officers, other service providers and damaged several vehicles and properties worth thousands of kina.

PPC Yapu said the soldiers removed keys from a hired car his officers were using at the centre and drove away and also damaged it.

“The commanding officer of the Naval Base, Mr Begsy Karaki, intervened and stopped the incident from getting out of hand.

“A senior PNG immigration officer and an asylum seeker were treated at the international health medical service at the centre and discharged.”

PPC Yapu is concerned about such unethical and unacceptable behaviour of the drunken soldiers.

He said they have set up an investigation team to look into the incident and deal with the perpetrators.

“I will leave no stones unturned. Someone will answer for what happened,” said PPC Yapu.

The commanding officer has already commenced his own investigation into the incident.

The situation at the centre is quiet but tense.

(File picture)

Press release