Wednesday, January 19, 2011

West Sepik police deny knowledge of border operation

WEST Sepik police have confirmed that they were neither informed nor instructed of the proposed deployment of a joint police and military operation along the PNG-Indonesia border in Vanimo, The National reports.

They said the Northern command also did not receive any brief on the deployment exercise, prompting speculations that the police headquarter had acted independently without due respect and consideration for its regional headquarters.

As a result, the Vanimo police station was closed yesterday morning and would remain so until all the differences and problems were resolved professionally.

“I was left in the dark and so was the Northern command,” West Sepik police commander Sakawar Kasieng said by phone from Vanimo last night.

He said the whole operation was kept very quiet until the arrival of a shipment of 14 vehicles and three boats.

“The vehicles were all tinted 10-seater Toyota landcruisers, hired from a motor dealer in Lae,” Kasieng said.

Kasieng’s comments stemmed from a stand-off between local police in Vanimo and members of the Port Moresby-based special task force currently in Vanimo for operation Sunset Merona.

The differences had also resulted in the bashing of a local police traffic officer who is nursing a broken nose and is having breathing difficulties.

The incident reportedly happened in front of the Vanimo police station, with Kasieng a witness himself.

He said the claim on national television yesterday that the victim had been driving an unregistered vehicle was “a pack of lies”.

“My policeman was on duty and driving a registered vehicle,” Kasieng said.

The PPC said he would push for his policeman to be airlifted to Port Moresby for adequate medical treatment.

“The actions of these policemen fall nothing short of mob rule.

“They are criminals and should not be involved in such operations.”

The provincial police commander said police files had been completed and prepared following investigations into the assault case.

“Police will arrest and charge the four men allegedly involved when they are brought in, hopefully tomorrow (today),” Kasieng said.

He said police and the local community were also demanding that provincial administrator Joseph Sungi turn up in public and explained the whole exercise.

“My policemen are very upset”

“They also completely left us out in the operation,” Kasieng said.




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