Police Commissioner David Manning is asking Papua New Guineans to respect policemen and assist them, as two police officers are in critical condition at Pacific International Hospital after they were ambushed by more than 30 gunmen from Hela Province.
The two officers were part of Hagen Mobile Squad 5 who were deployed to Pogera in Enga Province, one of the officers was shot in the head, while the other in his upper thigh.
They were airlifted into Port Moresby yesterday and taken to PIH.
Commissioner Manning said that it was intolerable – as the Police are a symbol of the state and the continuous attacks on police personnel will only hamper their efforts to effectively provide and serve the public.
“The continuous attacks on police can only hamper our efforts to effectively provide the full and wide range of policing services our people deserve.”
“The number of policemen actually attacked and killed by the public has increased considerably over the last ten years and this is alarming. These attacks cannot continue unchecked so I appeal to the public to please stop attacking policemen who are there to protect and serve you.”
Meanwhile, Pogera Community Leader condemned the ambush stating that the officers were there to address law and order issues that have been growing out of control in Pogera area over the past months.
Former Chairman of the Porgera Landowners Association, Mark Tony Ekepa, and the Chair of the Pogera District Women’s Association, Mrs Serah Erasi said that their actions were a further example of the mindless behaviour of a violent group of outsider criminals who were causing great fear and disruption in Porgera.
Stating that the police were there at the invitation of communities to restore peace and order to the District, and they did not deserve to be attacked by violent criminals.
We want peace in our valley, and we utterly condemn this latest outbreak of criminal violence,” Mr Ekepa and Mrs Erasi said.
“The police are here at the invitation of our communities to restore peace and order to our District, and they do not deserve to be attacked by violent criminals in this way.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with these brave men, who with the assistance of the Porgera Joint Venture have now been evacuated to Port Moresby for urgent medical care for their extremely serious injuries”
Meanwhile, Commissioner Manning has committed to ensuring all resources and manpower are made available to bring justice to those responsible and they are working with local leaders in Pogera to identify and arrest the criminals, who he says have no respect for the law or police.
“For this latest attack, I will ensure that all resources and manpower are made available to bring to justice those responsible. A Police Investigative Task Force is currently investigating. We are working around the clock and negotiating with local leaders in Porgera to identify and arrest the criminals who clearly have no respect for the law or police,” Mr Manning said.
By Adelaide Sirox Kari – EM TV News, Port Moresby