Madang police cell closed

National, Normal

THE Madang provincial police station has been closed after a detainee at the police cell was found to have watery dysentery.
The detainee, believed to be from Riwo village, outside Madang town, was a suspect in a robbery of the Malala Secondary School.
He complained of abdominal pain on Saturday but did not inform police until he was found going in and out of the cell toilet by other detainees.
Fellow inmates found out he had watery dysentery and started yelling from their cells to alert the duty officers.
The detainees were moved out of their cell blocks to the open cell area where they remained all night, refusing to go back inside their cell lockups for fear of contracting cholera.
When The National visited the cell, the detainees were all covering their faces with their hands and pieces of cloths thinking that the bacteria were transmitted through the air.
Provincial police station commander Snr Insp Steven Kaipa said in an interview that the detainee was taken to the cholera treatment centre in an ambulance to be treated.
There are 34 detainees and more than half of them are being detained for major crimes.
Insp Kaipa said the minor offenders would be asked to go home with the cell now temporarily closed.
The inmates held for major crimes would go to court to obtain bail to be released to await their court appearances.
Beon jail commander Joe Jako said they were prepared to take in the detainees but they had instructed the police to keep them at the police cells for few more days until they were cleared by the health authorities.
He said he would not let them in, in case some of them were infected and could easily spread the disease to other inmates.
Other precautionary measures taken were the ban for weekend visits by friends and relatives.