Police to Commence Operations In Southern Highlands

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By Meleasie Goviro – National EMTV News, Port Moresby

Acting Police Commissioner, Jim Andrews, has announced (June 19) that Police Operations are set to commence in the Southern Highlands Province.

He has issued a directive for an internal transfer of Police Officers to the Southern Highlands Province as follows:

  • Assistant Commissioner Kaiglo Ambane is to transfer from Highlands Western End in Mendi to Southern Region as Divisional Commander;
  • Assistant Commissioner Anton Billie is transfer from New Guinea Islands (NGI) Divisional Commander to Western End in Mendi;
  • Assistant Commissioner Allan Kundi is to transfer from Assistant Commander Southern Region, to Assistant Commissioner, assisting the Police  Commissioner on special duties.
  • Chief Superintendent Joseph Tondop’s appointment as Provincial Police Commander (PPC) Southern Highlands is revoked. He will remain unattached until further notice;
  • Chief Inspector Gideon Kauke currently Station Commander in Mendi Police Station is appointed Acting PPC, SHP and;
  • Chief Superintendent Paul Kamuai is appointed as NGI Acting Commander

He said these changes are to take effect immediately, and are important for the Southern Highlands issue to be effectively addressed.

For the duration of the transition period, Acting Police Commissioner has appointed Assistant Commissioner Operations David Manning to spearhead all Police Operations in the Southern Highlands Province

“He will be assisted by Assistant Commissioner Sylvester Kalaut, Acting Assistant Commissioner Crimes, Hodges Ette and a team of detectives(investigators), and Acting Director Special Services Divison Superintendent Julius Tasion. They will remain in the province until Assistant Commissioner Billie takes up his post.”

Acting Commissioner Andrews confirmed that up to 70 police personnel are already on the ground.

“As we speak (June 19), two police mobile squad totalling almost 70 police personnel are now in the Southern Highlands Province together with a contingent of PNG Defence Force Soldiers. Another two mobile squads are on standby should the need arise.”

He said police will be treating all property damages and burning of the Air Niugini Aircraft, as criminal acts.

The Acting Police Commissioner also confirmed that two warehouses holding relief supplies for earthquake victims were broken into and tonnes of supplies looted.

He said police operations will be carried out in four phases, concluding with the arrest and prosecution of all offenders.

“The police operations will be conducted in four phases and includes the insertion of police personnel; Netralizing of threats and restoring rule of law; public awareness and appeal and; Investigation, arrest and prosecution of offenders” Acting Commissioner Andrews outlined.

He said these acts of violence and criminal behaviour are clear evidence of underlying issues that needed to be resolved by everyone including the people themselves.

“What occurred in Mendi including the burning of the National and District Court buildings, the Commerce and Industry building, the burning of the Air Niugini Dash 8 Aircraft and the torching of the Southern Highlands Governor William Powi’s residence are unthinkable acts of violence which need to be addressed immediately” he said

The Acting Police Commissioner concluded with an appeal to the people of Southern Highlands for their cooperation during police operations.

“I am appealing to the people of Southern Highlands and especially the leadership at the family, tribal, clan, village, electoral and provincial levels to cooperate with the police and play their part in the restoration of peace and normalcy into the Southern Highlands Province and more importantly, in arresting those responsible for the destruction and looting.”

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