By ANDREW ALPHONSE
Southern Highlands province has a new provincial police commander.
Superintendent Teddy Tei will take over from Supt Jimmy Onopia.
Supt Tei was the executive officer to the Highlands divisional commander and assistant commissioner (Highlands) Simon Kauba before this appointment.
ACP Kauba confirmed the transfer from his Mt Hagen office on Wednesday afternoon when contacted by The National.
ACP Kauba said Supt Onopia’s transfer out of the province after being in charge for 13 months was ‘internal police transfer’ and did not warrant further explanation.
He said Supt Onopia would move to Mt Hagen where he would report to the PPC Western Highlands province.
ACP Kauba refused to answer further questions when asked if transfer was disciplinary in nature.
Supt Onopia has recently been very vocal in the media about the lack of Government action in addressing police manpower, resources, and logistic issues in the province.
He had warned of escalating law and order problems in the province, where the LNG project is underway, if Government continued to turn a blind eye on problems affecting the police.
Supt Onopia will hand over the reins to Supt Tei in a small ceremony today in Mendi.
Meanwhile, the outgoing PPC said about 125 new police recruits from the Southern Highlands province had being flown into Port Moresby for basic police training for six months at the Bomana police college in the last two weeks.
Supt Onopia thanked Governor Anderson Agiru and the provincial government for funding the training under a special arrangement with the Police Commissioner Gari Baki.
Upon completion of their training, the 125 new policemen and women would return back to serve in the Southern Highlands to beef up manpower especially for the security of the LNG project.