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Monday 20 June 2016 | Published in Regional


PAPUA NEW GUINEA – A provincial governor in Papua New Guinea has welcomed the government’s announcement of an inquiry into last Wednesday’s police shooting of students at the University of Papua New Guinea but insists it be headed by eminent persons.

The shooting of unarmed student protesters resulted in close to 30 injuries and triggered local and international condemnation including concern from the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Oro Province Governor Gary Juffa said the incident showed that despite previous incidents where members of the public have been shot by police there has been no effort to improve the management of such situations by the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.

He said the matter was poorly managed and needed careful review to determine what happened and to put in place strict measures to ensure future incidents were managed, with a view to minimising unnecessary destruction of public property and abuse of force by the RPNGC.

The proposed inquiry should ask the pertinent questions to get to the bottom of the matter, according to the governor.

“Was there an operational command order? Why were there no appropriate equipment for such incidents used such as rubber bullets shields batons and water cannons?

“Why policemen were not properly equipped to protect themselves? Who issued instructions to shoot?

“Is it true that persons who had fraudulently entered the Police Force with false certificates were armed and using high power weapons?

“What type of weapons were used and what calibre ammunition and what was the justification? What evidence is there to the claim of criminal elements influencing students?

“What evidence is there of politicians illegally inciting students? Is it true that the Government funded previous student leaders to control dissent prior to the election of the current student leadership?”

Juffa said he was preparing his statement as a witness to one part of the incident and is willing to assist the RPNGC and the inquiry.

He said any inquiry should be chaired by a retired judge or a UN appointee and have bipartisan membership from the opposition, Ombudsman Commission, the UN and the student representative council.

- Post-Courier