The National- Monday, February 7, 2011
By JUNIOR UKAHA
ABOUT 10 fully armed soldiers in camouflaged uniforms, taking part in Operation Sunset Merona in Vanimo, West Sepik, allegedly stormed the home of suspended provincial police commander Chief Insp Sakawar Kasieng and threatened his family yesterday.
Kasieng informed The National by phone that at about 8am, a tinted blue 10-seater Toyota vehicle, bearing the number plate LAV 336 and carrying 10 fully armed military personnel, closed in on his home in a military drill-type invasion.
“Guns were pointed at me and my children and we were ordered to stay indoors without any explanations,” Kasieng said.
He said an hour earlier, five policemen from Port Moresby, participating in the operation, had confronted him and took away his support vehicle allocated by Sandaun Governor Simon Solo, saying he was suspended and no longer had the right to keep the vehicle.
“They (police) told me that I was charged for treason and that I should immediately follow them to their command centre at the Vanimo council chambers for questioning,” Kasieng recalled.
He, however, told the arresting officers that it was Sunday and that he would be available for questioning tomorrow (today).
The policemen left but, about an hour later, the soldiers arrived and confronted Kasieng and his family at their West Tower home.
“It appeared that the confrontation was preplanned and executed in a coordinated fashion,” the suspended PPC said.
“I am not a criminal and I will not escape,” he said.
“I am a known figure in the province and I will still turn up for the interview,” Kasieng said.
Momase regional police commander Supt Goasi Labi, when contacted yesterday, said he was aware of the incident but did not know the reason for the confrontation.
“They may have a reason for their actions but I do not know what it is at the moment,” Labi said.
“They should have at least explain to him (Kasieng) why they put him under house arrest and also, for protocol’s sake, they should have informed me and the acting commissioner about their actions,” Labi added.
“I am treated as if I am an enemy of the state and a common criminal.
“My family and I are very frightened at the moment,” Kasieng said.
“They (soldiers) completely surrounded the house. They have placed guards at eastern and western ends of the house and have a vehicle and men guarding the gate.
“Our friends and visitors have been sent away by the soldiers.”
Kasieng was suspended last month after refusing to allow policemen on Operation Sunset Merona entry into the local police station headquarters after one of his men was allegedly beaten up by a group of visiting task force officers.
He was also reprimanded for talking to the media about the alleged beating and hospitalisation of his policeman.
It was not known if those involved in beating up the traffic policeman had been arrested and charged.
Kasieng’s 28-day notice of suspension was issued by acting Deputy Police Commissioner Fred Yakasa
Acting Police Commissioner Tony Wagambie said that he was not aware of the incident and would talk to operations commander Jerry Frank to get a brief about the incident and establish the reasons behind these actions.