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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National/PINA Nius Online) - A Papua New Guinea journalism lecturer has told of how he was assaulted and abused by police involved in the eviction of settlers from Madang.

Noted journalist and Divine Word University lecturer Kevin Pamba, who covered the evictions last week, said he feared for his life.

Pamba said he was picked up by heavily armed policemen.and taken to the back of a police station for questioning over the reporting of the evictions of squatters from other areas of Papua New Guinea.

The policemen, who are based in the Highlands but were brought to Madang for the evictions, claimed his report was biased. They said it painted a bad picture of them in the eyes of their superiors in Konedobu.

On the morning when the story on the eviction was published in The National, the policemen, in full battle gear, went in truckloads to the Divine Word campus. They searched for Pamba.

They spotted him in town, picked him up, and took him to Jomba police station for questioning.

Mr Pamba said: "They threatened to beat me up while one of the policemen tried twice to slash my face with a pocket-knife but I avoided it."

He said the 20 or so policemen, all armed, wanted to know who gave him permission to go in and get pictures of the properties destroyed. They also wanted to know who gave him information.

Mr Pamba said: "During this interrogation, one policeman punched me at the back of my head. Minutes later, another punched me across the left side of my ear and face from the back.

"Some screamed: 'detainim em pastaim' (detain him first). Others said I can be charged for defaming the police."

The policemen then demanded a "front page apology" for Mr Pamba's "misreporting", and they wanted it done within 24 hours.

Mr Pamba said he was released upon intervention by the Mobile Squad's Commander, Inspector Anthony Wagambie.

Pamba, who got bruises and cuts to his face and head, did not lay a formal complaint of assault against the policemen concerned.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: 

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