Security in PNG capital 'under control' after attack

12:01 pm on 11 May 2020

Papua's New Guinea's police chief has assured the public that a situation involving police and soldiers following the death of a senior police officer is under control.

PNG police on patrol

PNG police on patrol Photo: AFP

David Manning, who is also the Emergency Controller leading PNG's response to the covid-19 pandemic, held a joint press conference with the PNG Defence Force Commander Brigadier General Gilbert Toropo to address a sudden security flare-up in the capital.

Tension spiked at the weekend in Port Moresby after Senior Inspector Andrew Tovere was allegedly attacked by drunken, off-duty Defence Force personnel when responding to reports of illegal sale of alcohol.

After he died in hospital, a group of police officers had a small confrontation with PNGDF personnel before being ordered back by their commanders.

Mr Manning said that due to the swift intervention of police and military hierarchy in "establishing communication and understanding", the situation was contained before it escalated.

Three suspects have been detained by the PNG Defence Force Military Police.

A police assistant commissioner earlier explained that the prime suspect in this homicide case is a commissioned PNGDF officer with the rank of Lieutenant.

Meanwhile, the Controller said a police investigation into the attack was also ongoing.

The attack which led to the death allegedly involved alcohol, and occurred hours after Mr Manning announced new restrictions on alcohol sale and consumption.

Mr Manning said the Police and PNG Defence Force have a close standing working relation over the years, while currently police and defence officers are deployed together thoughout the country as part of the pandemic response.

He described the attack as a "very unfortunate and isolated incident".

"On behalf of the member of the constabulary I convey our deepest condolence to the immediate family and friends of Late Senior Inspector Andrew Tovere. I can assure that both police and military Commands are working together to ensure justice is served."