Probe into rampage starts

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday July 17th, 2013


A MILITARY investigation into the rampage by PNG Defence Force soldiers at the University of PNG’s Medical Faculty will begin today.  

This follows Defence Minister Dr Fabian Pok’s direction on Monday to PNGDF commander, Brig-Gen Francis Agwi, to immediately start a full investigation into what happened and take necessary action against the soldiers involved.

A colonel of the PNGDF, Tokam Kanene, has been appointed by Agwi, based on Pok’s directive.

The week-long investigation will end next Tuesday.

“Col Kanene is a very senior and experienced PNGDF officer who has held very senior positions for PNGDF within the country and abroad,” Agwi said.

“The incident is now becoming a serious issue and PNGDF wants to ensure that no stones are left unturned, meaning everyone involved will be dealt with seriously.

“The force is now dealing with the military code of discipline, and if there are criminal charges going to be laid against anyone involved, he will also be dealt accordingly in collaboration with the police.

Kanene, in his past appointments, has been commanding officer of First Royal Pacific Island Regiment (1PIR) at Taurama, chief of PNGDF operations, director of National Intelligence Organisation and PNG defence attaché to Indonesia for the past eight years.

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

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

This followed a commotion over the automatic teller machine (ATM) in front of the hospital between soldiers and students last Friday.

The majority of students have since moved to the main campus at Waigani, some have gone home, while a few remained at the campus.