Manning: All Soldiers Deployed to Enga Given Powers to take action against “Wicked People” Inciting Violence

Tuesday 20 February, 2024

PNG Police Commissioner, David Manning, took decisive action following the recent tribal clash in Enga, giving special constable powers to soldiers to arrest and “shoot to save innocent lives”, and urging community leaders to identify and stop “wicked people” inciting violence.

“The acts of barbaric violence that took place over those hours on Sunday disgusts the nation and they demand a hard response,” declared Manning, upon visiting the conflict zone and meeting local officials.

He confirmed 49 fatalities, mostly “hired guns,” and warned against further trouble. 

All PNGDF members deployed to Enga, Hela and SHP are given Special Constables powers stated Commissioner Manning.

“This gives soldiers the power and protection they need to do their jobs, including the authority to make arrests and where required, to discharge their weapons to save innocent lives and people’s property,” Manning explained.

“Any tribesman who raises a weapon will more than likely be shot by security forces.”

Commissioner Manning said he cannot state enough the importance of community leaders working with police to prevent further violence and identify the individuals behind the violence.

“These ethnic fights stem from wicked people who in the end cause the deaths of their own people when they stir up a fight.

“While I recognise it, is hard because there are threats and intimidation involved, but community leaders have to step up work with police to identify the ringleaders.

“This is a partnership between police and communities and when community leaders provide information we can act on it and go after the culprits and bring them down.

Mr Manning commended security personnel for their bravery and reiterated the importance of the proposed Domestic Terrorism legislation: “This legislation will criminalize acts of Domestic Terrorism…and provide police with enhanced surveillance…We must move forward with this urgent legislative reform.”

He concluded by outlining plans to discuss weapon trafficking and further security measures with the Prime Minister and Police Minister on his return to Port Moresby.

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