Pacific Update: Brutal domestic assault in PNG, ongoing USP leadership crisis

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Pal Ahluwalia
Suspended USP vice-chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia ... raised concerns over financial mismanagement and then faced allegations himself. Image: TVNZ

PACIFIC UPDATE: By Barbara Dreaver, TVNZ’s Pacific correspondent

There has been shock and revulsion in Papua New Guinea after a video emerged of a military officer beating his partner with a hot iron and headbutting her in front of her children.

Second Lieutenant Murray Oa has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm to Debbie Kaore, a PNG rugby rep and Pacific Games boxing gold medallist.

She agreed to the publication of the video in a bid to raise awareness of domestic violence.

Oa has been released on bail.

In other news in this week’s Pacific Update bulletin, there is a power struggle at the University of the South Pacific based in Suva, with the vice-chancellor, Professor Pal Ahluwalia, has suspended over misconduct allegations, after he raised concerns about financial mismanagement.

The suspension triggered protests and rallies by students and staff in support of the vice-chancellor across the campuses and centres of the 12-nation co-owned university.

In other news, a 14-year-old boy and his father died in Samoa after falling down a ravine.

The boy and his cousin fell into the deep ravine. One of them managed to climb out, but the other boy’s father died in a rescue attempt.

In another tragic incident, two boys died and their father is presumed missing after they were swept into the sea while fishing.

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