15 Mar 2006

PNG police defend action in weekend shooting

4:30 pm on 15 March 2006

Papua New Guinea police have defended their actions after a person was shot by officers in Port Moresby on Saturday night.

The shooting has been criticised by the Catholic Bishops Conference, which says police are too quick to shoot alleged offenders.

But police say the wounded man was hit after he and three colleagues began shooting at police.

The assistant commissioner, Tony Wagambie, says the officers were simply defending themselves.

"Police patrol came across a vehicle that was reported stolen through the police network and followed the vehicle down the road. The suspects fired about four shots at police and then police exchanged fire with them."

Mr Wagambie says one person is in hospital and the other three are in police detention.

The PNG police have frequently been criticised by human right organisations for their use of force.