A POLICE constable was shot dead yesterday while four men were killed, women and children wounded on Thursday in an outbreak of violence in Enga.
Police Constable (PC) Timot Kavanamur was clearing illegal miners in Porgera when he was shot dead in the morning.
On Thursday afternoon, a tribal fight between Pepet and Waiban clans just 15km outside Wabag town resulted in four deaths and nine women and children slashed with bush knives.
Police Comm David Manning says the death penalty must be imposed on cop killers and that “fire will have to be fought with fire”.
“I have said it before and I will say it again.
“We cannot have policemen attacked and killed by criminals in our society.
“Legislators need to amend or enact appropriate laws to serve as a deterrent on such murderers,” he added.
Comm Manning said this in a statement yesterday following the killing of a PC Kavanamur by illegal gold miners in Enga’s Porgera.
He added that he had also briefed Prime Minister James Marape on what has happened and suggested that a State of Emergency (SoE) be declared in Porgera.
Comm Manning said a massive combined police and PNG Defence Force operation was currently being carried out in Porgera and neighbouring areas to flush out the criminals responsible for the shooting of the constable.
“The suspect who killed the policeman is known.
“We know who he is and we know his associates, we will find them.
“Tomorrow (today), a special charter will fly Acting Deputy Comm (Operations) Donald Yamasombi, Asst Comm (Operations) Samson Kua and Special Services Division Director Supt Julius Tasion to Porgera to assess the situation.
“They will recommend the next course of action to take,” he said.
Comm Manning said an internal security force comprising police and sister disciplined forces to combat sporadic tribal fights within the highlands of PNG and the emergence of violent gangs nationwide, such as the Tommy Baker Gang, would be set up in the medium to long-term to tackle such violence and killings.
“A major component of this will be intelligence-driven, so our intelligence community will be part of this force.
Defence and the Correctional Services will be required to come on board.
“We will of course have to look at enabling legislations and appropriate funding to make this a force to be reckoned with.
“We cannot be complacent and sit back any more. Fire will have to be fought with fire,” he added.
In the meantime, Comm Manning said he would be requesting the Government, through Police Minister Bryan Kramer, for proper safety equipment such as bullet proof vests, helmets and shields for police personnel.
“PNG is becoming a very dangerous country for policemen to work and their safety and protection are very critical to ensuring that they can go out and continue to protect and serve the eight million Papua New Guineans.
“I will be meeting the police minister tomorrow to submit recommendations for him to take up with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. It is now time for some tough decisions to be made. Enough is enough,” he stressed.
“I also wish to send my sincerest condolences to the immediate family and colleagues of PC Kavanamur.
“It is unfortunate that the life of such a fine young man who had more to offer this country has been cut short. May God comfort us all in this tragic hour,” he added.
ACP Yamasombi said PC Kavanamur, who was attached to the Air Tactical Unit, was shot dead while trying to remove illegal miners at the Porgera mine.
He said he had yet to receive a brief from his men on the ground to release further details on the slaying.
Sources told The National that police and soldiers were on duty trying to stop the illegal miners when PC Kavanamur was shot on the neck.
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