The National, Wednesday July 17th, 2013
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has ordered the immediate arrest of the defence and police officers involved in two separate incidents of brutality.
O’Neill condemned the rogue officers in Parliament yesterday following the incidents last weekend that resulted in the death of a young man in Manus and injuries to students and damages to property at the University of PNG Medical Faculty in Port Moresby.
He said it was very frustrating to hear repeated cases of unruly behaviour by members of the country’s disciplined forces.
O’Neill reiterated that the Government would no longer tolerate such incidents and would take appropriate action, including the dismissal of officers involved in police and defence brutality cases.
“The government will not tolerate such behaviour. This is becoming far too frequent and the behaviour by the disciplinary forces has left the community losing trust in them,” he said.
“Our disciplined forces think they have the license to do anything; they abuse the law that they are supposed to help implement in the communities.
“We cannot keep changing leadership every time. It really depends on all senior officers to manage the forces well.
“Why do those trained to protect cause misery on those they are supposed to protect?
“It is very frustrating. This is a show of behaviour that we do not need in the country.”
O’Neill instructed Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga to immediately withdraw the police team from Lorengau, Manus, adding that several officers had been arrested in both incidents and more were expected.
He also instructed Kulunga to have police stationed at the UPNG Taurama campus and appealed to the medical students and lecturers to resume classes.
O’Neill also directed Defence Minister Dr Fabian Pok to take immediate action against soliders involved in the rampage and have contractors assigned to carry out maintenance on damaged Medical Faculty and Port Moresby General Hospital properties.
He said the rogue officers must not be given any complacency or encouraged to settle the problems outside of the law.
“Let the law deal with them so the law must stand for all to follow,” he said.
According to Manus MP Ronnie Knight, a young man from Lorengau died on Sunday morning at the hospital after being badly beaten by a group of police officers deployed to Manus on a law and order exercise.
He said the incident had caused a near civic unrest in Lorengau and painted a bad image of the police force.