2 Dec 2015

PNG police again violently clash with soldiers

10:13 am on 2 December 2015

Police in Papua New Guinea have conceded there is a command and control issue within the force after yet another violent clash between police and soldiers.

On Thursday, police fired at a van of soldiers that was chased at high speeds through the streets of Port Moresby, killing one person and injuring two passengers.

PNG police on patrol

PNG police on patrol Photo: AFP

A police spokesperson, Superintendent Dominic Kakas, says several soldiers then attacked two police officers who were refuelling a vehicle in a retaliatory attack on Friday.

Violent clashes between police and soldiers aren't rare in PNG, and several similar incidents have been reported this year.

Mr Kakas says the police and defence force hierarchies have met to try and prevent further clashes, but says there are discipline issues the commissioner, Gari Baki, is trying to resolve.

"He has made it very, very clear that any such actions from the junior officers he will hold the immediate supervisors responsible, basically it's a command and control issue. The other thing also we are looking at -- and that's the long term thing -- is we're looking at the recruitment process. We're also looking at the training up at the college and also the mentoring process."

The former commander of Papua New Guinea's military, Major General Jerry Singirok, says this incident and several other clashes between police and military are pathetic and uncalled for, and reflect serious ill-discipline in both forces.

He says the breakdown in discipline has got worse in the past decade as a result of several cuts and poor administrative decisions.

"It's really a quagmire of administrative issues. For example, they decided to reduce the basic training from six months to three months. So somewhere along the line they need to start from the basics to address issues that affect issues of morale, issues of administration before they can completely take control of the situation."