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Alleged attack ends in injuries, property theft

By Grace Auka

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 17, 2012) – Police are investigating why a group of officers assaulted another unit in broad daylight yesterday for no reason, before taking cash and personal belongings from them.

It is understood that two of the assaulted officers were admitted at the Port Moresby General Hospital while five others were nursing injuries.

National Capital District police chief Andy Bawa said late yesterday he was aware of the incident and was seeking more information on it from senior officers in the Boroko and Gordon’s stations.

He said whoever was responsible for the assault on fellow officers would be dealt with accordingly.

Central patrol control officer in charge Sgt. Paul Simon told yesterday of how he and his men were returning from a patrol around lunchtime in a white unmarked vehicle.

They were stopped at Gordon and surrounded by 10 four-wheel drive vehicles. He said about 50 fully-armed policemen got out of the vehicles.

"We were ordered and pulled out of the vehicle and without asking questions, one of them fired five shots in the air while others started punching and booting my men," Simon said.

"We were shocked but could not do anything as we were outnumbered."

He said after the assault on his men, the fully-armed officers took the vehicle they were using plus K1,500 [US$713.68] in cash which belonged to the owner of vehicle they were hiring.

Mobile phones and personal belongings were also taken by the rogue officers.

He said his group was then taken to the Boroko police station but were sent back to their base in Gordon.

No comment could be obtained last night on the conditions of the injured officers.

[PIR editor’s note: Police force members have expressed confusion and concern at the actions of the assailants, particularly over allegations that the victimized officers were treated like criminals and made to strip off their uniforms and lay on the ground. Police Commander Tom Kulunga has accused politicians for splitting up police forces to be used for political agendas after talking with officers in Port Moresby. Kulunga expressed deep concerns over the matter. Allegedly, the attacking officers were part of security contingents brought in during January violence in the capital from Mount Hagen who appeared to be "operating outside" control.]

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