17 Jul 2013

PNG's O'Neill says attack on students by soldiers a grave concern

9:55 am on 17 July 2013

Papua New Guinea's prime minister Peter O'Neill says members of disciplined forces who go on armed mob-style attacks against citizens and destroy public properties will face instant dismissal without service benefits.

Mr O'Neill's comment follows the weekend attack on students and facilities at the Medical Faculty of the University of PNG by a handful of armed soldiers.

In a statement, the prime minister said the public and the government can no longer tolerate a few rogue service people in uniform - whether they are soldiers or policemen - who terrorise citizens or vandalise public properties.

The Prime Minister said the Medical Faculty is located near the Port Moresby General Hospital, and the attack disrupted services at the hospital.

He said when a handful of PNG servicemen in uniform take the law into their own hands and start attacking citizens and destroying facilities built by taxpayers, it becomes a matter of grave concern.

He added this kind of unruly behaviour erodes the confidence of the community in institutions that are meant to protect the people and guard against external threats.

The prime minister said he is appealing to the top hierarchy of the PNG Defence Force and Police to apply the full force of the law, and bring those responsible to account immediately.