by Vasinatta Yama – EM TV, Port Moresby
Investigations into the Hanuabada shooting which took place early this year, have now been completed.
The investigations have confirmed that police are responsible for the deaths of 36 year old, Nicholas Rarua and 29 year old Toka Gaudi.
Commander of NCD and Central Province, Jerry Frank, confirmed that one empty shell that was retrieved from the scene matches the firearm of the Hohola Police. However, the bullet fragment removed from late Nicholas Rarua was never connected to any Police firearm tested.
Although the investigation has ended and reports compiled, the investigation team cannot proceed any further because they cannot identify any police officer from the witnesses and reports. The investigation reports will be handed over to the Coroner and a second Coronial Inquest will be conducted.
The incident started on 23 January, this year, where NCDC Reservists Police Unit conducted a raid at the Hekeidobi Market in HB.
People were assaulted, properties destroyed and vendor’s money stolen, which resulted in youths retaliating.
Commander Jerry Frank condemned their actions as unprofessional.
The situation worsened when firearms where discharged by police, which left two dead and others injured.
From the findings, six Police Units were involved in the incident including the NCDC Reservists.
A total of 168 eye witnesses were identified, however, only 149 witnesses provided written statements, while others demanded payment before giving out information.
The witness statements also include Post Mortem Reports from 3 Doctors and 11 Police Investigators involved in the investigations.
A total of 13 rifles were identified for testing. Nine shell casings were collected by HB villagers and were given to the Crime Scene Officers during the investigations.
Mr Frank said the shell casings were polluted as they were not collected by the Forensic team while it was still fresh. They were also mixed up, which is an issue for the investigation team as they cannot identify the exact location they were retrieved from. This has resulted in a collection of evidence which cannot be used.
“Even though police officers identified at the scene were forced and threatened with disciplinary charges, they did not attempt to submit statements or hand in their weapons for Ballistic testing,” Commander Frank said.