UPNG Students Protest over Assault by Soldiers

Thousands of students’fromthe University of Papua New Guinearsquo;s main campus and Medical Faculty staged a peaceful march in protest of last weekend’s assault on staff and students’by members ofthPNG Defense Force.


Traffic fromthe UPNG main campus tothe Waigani Drive was stalled around midday yesterday when students’tooktheir protest tothe street.

Medical students’marched intheir white coats andthe larger student body carrlied banners that condemned actions oPNG Defense Force Personnel.


ThPNG Defense Force Personnel had forcedtheir way intothe Medical Faculty last Sunday and opened fire, threatened students’ staff & security and also damaged property and students’rsquo; personal belongings.


Supported by fellow Student Representttatives fromthe University of Technology and University of Goroka, UPNG Medical Faculty Student President Newman Berry saidthe students’had vacatedthe Taurama Campus for safety reasons and he describedthe events that unfolded atthe Taurama Campus on Sunday.


National LLeadersthat turned out to hearthe students’included Minister for Defense Fabian Pok, Powes Parkop, Michael Malabag, David Arore, Jim Kas, Tobias Kulang, Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc and Prof. David Kavanamur.


UPNG’s SRC President Peter Numu presentedthe petition tothe lLeadersthat saidthey wanted justice served.


“The act of assaultingthe University of Papua New Guineastudents’atthe School of Medicine & Health Sciences bythe Papua New GuineaDefese Force showed that it is an act of war againstthe innocent intellectuals of this nation,” says President Peter Numu.


The students’demandedthe termination of those responsible personnel, guaranteed security for students’and staff before classesesume atthe Taurama Campus and a formal apology fromthe Defense Force hierarchy.


Minister for Defense Fabian Pok responded on behalf ofthe national government.


“I have appointed a senior colonel, Colonel Tokam Kanene to headthe investigation. I asked all you students’to corporate with him and give your side ofthe story so thatthe truth will be revealed,” Said Minister Pok.


Minister Pok urgedthe students’to return to classes, as a police unit was dispatched to provide security on campus. He announced that two officers are in jail and thers found guilty would be court-marshaled and terminated onthe spot.


Maintenance work atthe campus will begin today butthe students’have given 24hours for the government to respond to ther demands like reimbursement of students’rsquo; belongings that were damaged and a national solution for disciplined forces who breachtheir constitutional obligations and threatenthe lives of civilians.

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