By Theckla Gunga – EMTV News, Port Moresby
The Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) invited media personnel on Friday (June 1) to discuss the verification of information before publishing articles involving soldiers. This comes after the PNGDF expressed disappointment in a story published by Post Courier on Friday (June 1). The article contained allegations that PNGDF soldiers conducted a raid and injured of 44 people.
Chief of PNGDF Joint Operations, Colonel Wenzel-who is in charge of the operations in the Highlands-said Post Courier has failed to contact PNGDF to verify the information and should do so in the future. The story published by Post Courier reported that a raid was conducted in a village in Tambul Nebilyer District in the Western Highlands province. The article also stated that four pastors and two persons living with disabilities were injured during the raid.
Chief of Staff Captain Philipp Polewara says news reports involving PNGDF members should always be verified with the PNGDF media team because it may increase security concerns, especially when PNG is hosting the APEC Leaders’ Summit in November.
The PNGDF has denied allegations in the Port Courier report, particularly the amount of people reportedly injured in the incident. But it has confirmed that there were two different incidents that occurred in that area involving members of the Engineering Battalion. It has also confirmed that there were incidents of gun shots being fired.
Based on the information received from the Defence Force personnel on the ground, the alleged incident was a result of a case involving a known criminal, who attempted to steal a weapon from soldiers in Western Highlands.