PNGDF soldiers rampage on Manus detention centre

Papua New Guinea Defence Force soldiers based at the Lombrum Naval Base on Manus Island went on a rampage at the asylum detention centre on Good Friday firing several shots into the air and indiscriminately assaulting policemen, PNG Immigration Officers, other service providers and asylum seekers.

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The incident occurred on Friday April 14 at about 6.30pm at the Manus Regional processing centre.

Manus Provincial Police Commander Senior Inspector David Lapu said a group of drunken soldiers in retaliation for one of their colleague who was allegedly assaulted by an asylum seeker entered the centre shouting and throwing any objects that they could lay their hands on at the asylum seekers.

He said the soldiers also assaulted his policemen on deployment at the centre, PNG immigration officers, other service providers and damaged several vehicles and properties worth thousands of kina.

PPC Yapu said the soldiers removed keys from a hired car his officers were using at the centre and drove away and also damaged it.

PPC Yapu said the Commanding officer of the Naval Base, Mr Begsy Karaki intervened and stopped the incident from getting out of hand.

A senior PNG immigration officer and an asylum seeker were treated at the international health medical service at the centre and discharged.

PPC Yapu is concerned about such unethical and unacceptable behaviour of the drunken soldiers. He said only a day ago the PNG Defence Force Chief of Staff Colonel Numa addressed the Commanders parade and made some good comments to the solders to maintain high level of disciple, professionalism and leadership.

However this message had gone to deaf ears and the soldiers showed disrespect to the international and local community at the centre PPC Yapu said.

Mr Yapu has set up an investigation team to investigate the incident and deal with the perpetrators.

“I will leave no stones unturned. Someone will answer for what happened,” said PPC Yapu.

The commanding officer has already commenced his own investigation into the incident.

The situation at the centre is quite but tense.

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