Enough, says PM

Main Stories, National

The National, Tuesday July 16th, 2013


PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill and Defence Minister Fabian Pok have slammed the behaviour of rogue soldiers from Taurama Barracks at the University of PNG’s Medical Faculty on Sunday.

And the Opposition described the incident as “totally alarming and scary”.

O’Neill warned that members of the disciplined forces who go on armed mob-style attack against citizens and destroy public property would face instant dismissal without service benefits.

Pok expressed “great sadness and shame” at the rampage and declared that “we are very determined to see that this does not happen again”.

Soldiers armed with bush knives, iron bars and firearms drove to the hospital premises at 1pm on Sunday where they broke down the Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH) gates leading to the faculty, indiscriminately assaulted people and damaged property.

One dental student was seriously assaulted and admitted to hospital while considerable damage was done to hospital property.

This followed a commotion over the automated telling machine (ATM) in front of the hospital between soldiers and students.

Most students have since moved out of campus.

However, the PMGH remained open yesterday, despite talk of doctors scaling down services in protest, a source at the faculty said.

The main entrance to the PMGH was closed yesterday with placards posted protesting the violence.

The source said the majority of students had moved to UPNG’s main campus at Waigani, some had gone home, while a handful remained at the campus behind PMGH.

He said the campus was being patrolled by UPNG’s Uni Force Security.

“Uni Force are at the medical faculty to keep things under control.

“It’s all quiet and peaceful now. However, there’s a fair bit of confusion.

“The hospital has not been closed,” the source said.

“Doctors talked about restricting services, however, during the day (yesterday), it was pretty much business as usual.

“It’s very unfortunate that the students have been affected and some of them have had their possessions completely destroyed.”