PNG Defence Force Investigates Assault Of Students By Soldiers

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Port Moresby students allegedly beaten by troops at cultural show

By Miriam Zarriga

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 29, 2015) – The PNG Defence Force is now conducting investigations into the assault by its troops on a student cultural show in Port Moresby last weekend.

Chief of Staff Colonel Mark Goina said that investigations are ongoing with orders from PNG Defence Force Brigadier General Gilbert Toropo to immediately arrest the culprits and charge them.

Brigadier General Gilbert Toropo is aware of the situation and has ordered that an investigation be carried out immediately. He wants those who have been identified to be arrested and charged with the case brought before the court.

"We are not taking the incident lightly and we do not condone the actions of the soldiers, we are here to protect the country and what they have done is not acceptable, this is a serious matter and we are investigating."

This follows an attack by soldiers believed to be from Murray Barracks who assaulted students at a cultural show at Coronation school. Students from East Sepik Province were victims of an assault by the soldiers after defending their fellow student who was punched by two intoxicated soldiers on Saturday last week.

The East Sepik students gathered at a parent’s house at Taurama Barracks in preparation for the show were on their way and were flagged down at Jack Pidik Park.

The driver of the truck having noticed the vehicle flagging him, pulled over to the side, two intoxicated soldiers came out and without warning proceeded to punch the students targeting a student who was wearing an old military field jacket.

The student fell off the truck at which time a parent who was following the truck intervened but was sworn at.

The East Sepik students president at Kilakila was then punched by the soldiers, having had enough the students proceeded to fight with the soldiers.

At about 11 am, soldiers numbering from 20-30 entered the premises of the Coronation school, and went directly to the East Sepik Students stall.

Students, parents and the public scattered as the soldiers went on a rampage with softball bats, sticks, stones and other objects in which they used on any students or passersby who were from East Sepik.

One innocent student from Salvation Army school at Koki was injured and is now at the intensive care unit at Port Moresby General Hospital.

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