PNG Defence Force Vows To Stop Conflicts With Police

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

‘Enough is enough’ after latest incident which resulted in one death

By Clifford Faiparik

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Nov. 30, 2015) – The Defence Force has vowed to stop "once and for all" soldiers from attacking police officers and members of the public.

"Enough is enough," Chief of Force Preparation Colonel Siale Diro said.

"This must not happen again."

He was responding to another clash in Port Moresby on Friday between members of the two disciplined forces.

"We must do everything we can to ensure that in the first instance, justice must prevail and that we do everything we can to prevent the people from being unnecessarily traumatised or disrupted in their lives and go about their daily business," he said.

He said a joint police-military team would investigate past confrontations between the members of the two forces.

Diro said both military and police chiefs wanted the matter dealt with immediately.

"We want those (police officers and soldiers) involved in the incident to be dealt with today (last Friday) immediately," he said.

"We also decided that a joint investigation team deal with all the outstanding police-PNGDF clashes."

On Dec 7 last year, a group of soldiers and police officers clashed outside a nightclub in Boroko. On the 6th of this month, police officers and soldiers clashed at Waigani.

"These incidents have caused a great deal of worry among our community and a great deal of disruption to the lives of our people," he said.

Diro said the military was also concerned about soldiers clashing with members of the public.

He cited as examples the damaging of the Manu autoport fuel station on May 9, 2011 by soldiers after one of them was assaulted by a staff member.

Soldiers also burnt homes at Kirakira village in the National Capital District in June last year after a soldier was allegedly killed by the villagers over a family row.

There was also the damaging of properties and bashing of staff at the University of PNG Medical School on July 16, 2013, in which a soldier was assaulted over the use of the ATM.

The most recent in July this year was when a student died after he was allegedly attacked by a group of soldiers for wearing a military uniform.

"We will advise accordingly once both PNGDF and police headquarters establish a joint investigation team on a joint reference. But our priority now is to investigate the current incident," he said.

Diro said they were aware of the "negative behaviour" of some soldiers towards members of the public when a soldier was mistreated in public.

"We will continue training and monitoring through command level and basic routine control to stop such behaviour," he said.

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