Former PNG Defence Force chief calls for inquiry after policeman killed

PNG Senior Inspector Andrew Tovere ... allegedly killed in a clash with off-duty soldiers. Image: The National

Pacific Media Watch

Former Papua New Guinea Defence Force commander Jerry Singirok has condemned the killing of a senior police officer allegedly by off-duty soldiers.

He used social media last night to distribute a message of condemnation of the killing of Senior Inspector Tovere with a photo of himself with two other former commanders, Peter Ilau and Ted Diro, reports the PNG Post-Courier.

“As the duly appointed secretary-general of PNG Flag Officers’ League, on behalf of the former commanders PNGDF, we condemn the killing of a senior police officer,” he said.

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Former PNGDF commanders
Former PNG Defence Force commanders Peter Ilau (from left), Ted Diro and Jerry Singirok … call for an inquiry into “morale and discipline” of the military. Image: PNG Post-Courier/FB

“We call on the government of the day to step up the control of the PNGDF as we have noted a serious decline in morale and discipline.

“We call for an independent inquiry [into] the command and control of the PNGDF, including aspect [sic] of fair recruitment and management of public funds,” Singirok said.

“Failing that, we can never recover from the current quagmire.”

Papua New Guinea currently has at state of emergency in place with 18 positive cases of covid-19 reported but no deaths. However, authorities do not know if there is any community spread and the method of testing is being changed.

A report from Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police Anthony Wagambie Jr said he did not foresee any more trouble between the two disciplinary forces.

Sergeant identified
He said one Defence Force sergeant had been identified by military police.

”Others will be identified if any. The officer is on the run and will be brought in by MP [military police],” he said.

RNZ Pacific also reports that PNG police had reported calm although tension still remained.

Senior Inspector Tovere, the police commander for National Capital District (NCD) Zone Three, died after he was allegedly attacked by drunk off-duty military personnel on Friday at the ATS Settlement in the capital of Port Moresby, according to FM100 News.

Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Operations Donald Yamasombi told the radio station  Tovere had died at Port Moresby General Hospital.

According to Yamasombie, Tovere was responding to reports of the sale of alcohol by a black market at the settlement when he was attacked.

Yamasombi strongly called on all police personnel in Port Moresby to refrain from carrying out any retaliatory acts.

Police officer’s body escorted
Forty-six police vehicles with sirens and lights blazing left the National Fraud Squad office at Konedobu around 7pm last night escorting Tovere’s body in a funeral home van to 9 Mile where he remained overnight, Acting Metropolitan Commander Chris Tamari said.

Assistant Commissioner Wagambie Jr’s report said: “[The] situation from our end is now quiet. All units have been contained and back to normal duties.”

He recounted what happened yesterday morning: “Police units had congregated at 3 Mile Hospital after learning of the death of our senior officer.

“We told them to go to Boroko Station so they would be briefed and to remain calm. However some units broke away and went straight to ATW against our directives,” Wagambie said.

He said Superintendent Tamari and he followed them there and met Colonel Eddie Mirou and got the units to withdraw.

” There was a small confrontation before we had arrived. All units returned to Boroko where acting Metsupt and I talked to them.

”[We] explained to them that they must not enter any Army Barracks. PNGDF is working on it,” Wagambie said.

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