Reports claim cops shot 10-year-old

National, Normal

The National – Monday, January 3, 2011

 A BOY,10, is among three males allegedly shot by Madang’s elite police mobile squad – the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) – in the early hours of Saturday.

The unit, which was on night patrol, entered a residential premises and  fired gunshots on the three males at close range, it was claimed.

According to one of the victims, Bade Soko, 30, from Manam, he, along with  Jeffery Moiga, 10, from Goroka, Eastern Highlands and Menei Gaven, 16, from Liap, Manus, were enjoying card games and listening to music at his house on Luan street at Milyok, when police arrived.

Soko was shot twice in both legs while Moiga and Gaven were both shot on their right legs.

The three are awaiting surgery at the Madang General Hospital emergency ward.

“They did not explain why they shot at us when they came up to my doorsteps and opened fire. There were plenty of them, we didn’t know what was happening, we were all shocked by the gunshots to our legs,” Soko claimed.

He added: “They then told us to sit down and said we were making too much noise so they entered my home.”

Jeffery Moiga’s mother, Alice Moiga, recalled that the mobile squad went to Soko’s home after returning from the hospital and cut down all of Soko’s banana plants growing in the yard, destroyed his market house and searched his home for illegal weapons, claiming that Soko was illegally in possession of a gun.

“They also accused Soko of building his house from stolen money. After what they did, we went to the Jomba Police Station seeking answers but all we heard was that they filed a police report accusing the boys of swearing at a police man,” Alice said.

The father, Dick Moiga, added that they were asked by Jomba police to file their complaints with the Madang police internal investigation unit for further investigation.

“This is not the first time. We have so many victims shot by police. It has gone too far, these officers are criminals in uniform, renegade police who swore an oath to protect and serve the community. They are hurting innocent residents and we are living in fear because we have policemen patrolling our streets with guns,” said Moiga.

A community meeting for ward seven, where the incident occurred, with neighbouring ward six and nine of Madang urban local level government was held yesterday afternoon at Jomba to seek the community’s views on police using firearms while patrolling residential areas.

Moiga said the outcome of the meeting would determine their next course of action, which, he added, would be taken up with higher authorities if need be.

Attempts by The National to get a response yesterday from Madang police station commander Senior Insp Steven Kaipa were unsuccessful as the inspector was preparing to attend church service and could not comment, howeve, he assured that he would respond today.

Madang police commander could not be reached for comments, however, Madang CID sources, last night confirmed the attacks.