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June 14, 2021
News Southern

Police Actions Questioned

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By Theckla Gunga – EMTV, Port Moresby

EMTV News has received reports of a split between police officers the Eastern Highlands province.

It comes as the legal battle over the position for the Eastern Highlands Provincial Administrator (PA) is still being battled in court.

EHP Governor, Julie Soso, is now raising concerns on the apparent breakdown in command and control by police personnel in Goroka.

Since the legal battle over the PA’s position started in August 2015, government services into Goroka have been affected.

The impasse has also caused a split that is becoming more evident daily with reported assaults on people closely aligned with Governor Soso.

The assaults are understood to be linked to the current conflict over the Eastern Highlands Administrator’s post.

Governor Soso has since engaged lawyers to take up the issue. She has also appealed to the Police Commissioner to intervene and restore command and control in the province.

Ruben Chuave is one of the people assaulted by Goroka police.

He says he was threatened, verbally assaulted and kept in police custody before he bailed himself out with K500.

The conflict over the administrator’s post has exposed political battles being fought behind the scenes.

It is a split with Governor Julie Soso on one side, and Senior Eastern Highlands MPs on the other; each party with their own candidate for the Provincial Administrator’s post.   

This has also prompted Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, to clarify the authorities involved in the appointment of a PA.

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