Joint PNG Police and Defence taskforce to be deployed to Hela in response to the killings

PNG Prime Minister James Marape. Picture: POST COURIER

PORT MORESBY, 12 JULY 2019 (POST COURIER) – There will be a joint Papua New Guinea military and police taskforce in Hela Province next week in response to the killings in the Hayapuga and Tagali LLG areas.

Prime Minister James Marape confirmed that Police Minister Bryan Kramer and Hela Governor Philip Undialu would be in the province today.

Marape said he had sent Kramer to take stock of what is on the ground, including police manpower and issues that need urgent attention.

“While the Hela provincial administration, through the peace and good order committee, has declared both LLGs as fighting zones under the Inter-Group Tribal Fighting Act, the police minister will see for himself what is needed and report to me and the National Security Advisory Council the issues that we can address quickly.

“A mobile squad will be relocated to Tari and will be based there, (and) we will ensure a military call out is extended in the province.

“One must understand that the province is home to Mt Kare, Hides, Moran and Kutubu and we need stronger, visible security presence.

“While we have 60 police and PNGDF soldiers on the ground, that is not enough, so Mr Kramer will go and see what is needed.

“As for reinforcements, I will be advised through the National Security Advisory Council and then I will make my decision on how many men we will be deployed into the fighting zone,” he said.

Meanwhile, the United Nations in PNG strongly condemns the brutal massacre of 24 people in Hela Province over the weekend and calls for immediate intervention to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“We denounce in the strongest terms these heinous attacks that show a ruthless disregard for human rights and the rule of law,” said David McLoughlin, UNICEF representative and acting UN resident coordinator.

“The senseless killing of people, including children, who have a fundamental right to be safe and protected from violence, is unacceptable under any circumstance.

“The UN is concerned about the grave violation of human rights and we call on law enforcement authorities to ensure prompt and effective investigations are undertaken and those perpetrators are brought to justice, to ensure protection for those who are vulnerable to further attacks.

“The State has a responsibility to uphold respect for the rule of law, and protect all persons, particularly the most vulnerable members of society, from the violation of their right to life, and ensure equal protection of the law under the PNG Constitution and international human rights law.

“The UN offers sincere condolences to the families and relatives for their loss,” he said.

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