State of Emergency Period Ends in Port Moresby

Wednesday 24 January 2024

Acting Police Commissioner and Controller, Donald Yamasombi and Chief of Defence Force, Commodore Philip Polewara during today’s press conference at Morauta House, Waigani.

The 14 days State of Emergency declared in Papua New Guinea’s capital city Port Moresby will end at 11.59pm tonight.

The State of Emergency was declared by Prime Minister James Marape on  Friday 12 January, 2024, following civil unrest, widespread looting and burning down of major shops on 10  January, which resulted from a protest by members of the police union over alleged salary tax increase by the government which spiraled out of control when opportunists took advantage and looting innocent shops around the city of Port Moresby.

In a media conference held today (24January, 2024) at Morauta Haus, Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary acting police commissioner and State of Emergency Controller Donald Yamasombi made the announcement to the residents of NCD and the people of PNG.

“The purpose of us having this media conference is to announce that we have now come to the end of the State of Emergency here in the nation’s Capital.

“This afternoon, I am joined by the acting Chief of PNG Defense Force, Commodore Philip Polewara, his senior officers and myself with my senior officers including the interim assistant commissioner for the NCD/Central Province and his Metropolitan Superintendent.

“The objective of having the SoE was basically to bring back normalcy and confidence to our people and the business community in NCD after the events that happened on the 10th of January. 2024.

“I am glad that we have achieved the objective of that SoE.

“The banks have opened, shops have opened, the PMVs are back to normal business and life is back to normal.

“As we step out from the SoE going forward, you will find in the city, we will have PNGDF personnel as well as police personnel still maintaining presence on our streets in the city.

Mr Yamasombi said that despite the end of the SoE 14 day- period , maintaining the presence of security personnel on the streets should give public confidence in the security efforts by the Government to have restored normalcy in the city and country.

“The presence of PNGDF with police personnel maintaining law and order throughout the city will continue through out the city to build further confidence to all our people and residents..

“As we are about to also enter into the academic year 2024, students coming in from all over the country, we would like to give that confidence and comfort for them as they settle into the various institutions, they will be attending.

“To those that have been watching the SoE and the events which have unfolded in the city, I would like to say that from the events that transpired, we are currently conducting our investigations and various actions will be taken,” Mr Yamasombi said.

Mr Yamasombi stated that through this SoE further recommendations will be made so that the Government can be able to prevent this from happening in the future.

He stressed that on 10 January, 2024, not only did opportunists and looters caused terrible destruction  to  the business community costing damages worth over K100million, they also disrupted   the normal way of life for residents  in the city.

“We almost tried to interfere with the democracy of this country, our men and women attempted to storm into the Parliament, that was a very dangerous trend,” Mr Yamasombi said.

According to Mr Yamasombi, investigations are ongoing with more reports coming in and once completed a detailed report will be furnished and handed to the Chief Secretary to present to Cabinet for recommendations on how best the government can be able to protect Govt institutions and property in the future.

With regards to the investigation regarding disciplinary actions against members of the RPNGC who were suspected of instigating the salary protest on 10January in Port Moresby and ordering looting of shops, Mr Yamasombi said that two separate investigations are underway running parallel in order to ensure disciplinary actions and criminal misconduct by our police men and women are thoroughly investigated and appropriate actions will be taken against them.

“And for these investigations to continue, our NCD Divisional commander Anthony Wagambie Jr was sidelined for those investigation to be carried out and yesterday (23rd of January, 2024) evening one arrest has been made on one of our members and police union president,” Mr Yamasombi said.

Mr Yamasombi made it known to the general public that the State of Emergency 24 hour Call Centre will still be in operation and urged the public to report any thing  suspicious they  see and hear out there.

The State of Emergency Hot-line number is: 1800500.

Commodore Polewara also expressed his gratitude to  all leaders,  and those who have assisted both the Police and Defence Force personnel maintain  peace and  normalcy in the city

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