‘Alien’ cops held in Goroka

National, Normal

TWO Mt Hagen-based policemen driving around in Goroka and acting suspiciously were arrested yesterday by Goroka police, disarmed, and told to return to Mt Hagen.
The hired vehicle they were driving around in was also impounded just before counting for the Kandep Open seat started.
The two were believed to have travelled to Goroka to promote the cause of a candidate involved in the Kandep by-election.
Eastern Highlands provincial police commander acting Chief Supt Augustine Wampe confirmed that the two policemen from Mt Hagen came into Goroka without the knowledge of the Assistant Commissioner Police (ACP) Highlands Simon Kauba and himself as the commander for the province.
He said they were operating in Eastern Highlands province on their own accord.
The two were involved in the arrest a presiding officer from Hela who had allegedly marked ballot papers illegally.
“The two police officers came in last Saturday acting in the interest of someone, arrested presiding officer Joe Kaim and locked him up on Sunday night.
“The report in The National on Monday that Goroka police arrested presiding officer Kaim is not true.
“It was these two alien policemen from Mt Hagen,” Chief Supt Wampe said.
He said the two policemen said they were chasing a complaint against Mr Kaim, but without the knowledge of returning officer Poevare Torre and his deputy Simon Simoi, himself as the Police Commander and ACP Kauba.
“They acted on outside interest and did not take directions from the Electoral Commission or police.”
He said after questioning the two, Goroka police confiscated a M16 police issue rifle they had in their possession and impounded their vehicle and ordered them to get on a PMV and return to Mt Hagen.
He said the officers were from the Mt Hagen’s police criminal investigation division (CID).
“Eastern Highlands is a peaceful place in the Highlands.
“We want the counting process to take place peacefully. My policemen are neutral.
“We will not entertain any foreign troops coming into the province at their own will or in the interest of others,” Chief Supt Wampe said.