PNG’s police chief David Manning reinstated after Black Wednesday riots

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PNG riot police and Defence Force officers on duty
PNG riot police and Defence Force officers on duty patrolling the capital city of Port Moresby following the riots two weeks ago. Image: The National

RNZ Pacific

Papua New Guinea’s Police Commissioner David Manning has been reinstated after being stood down following riots and looting on January 10.

That rioting — branded as Black Wednesday — was sparked by a police protest after unannounced deductions from their wages, which the government blamed on a glitch.

The protest led to a riot causing the deaths of more than 20 people, widespread looting and hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to businesses.

Reinstated Police Commissioner David Manning
Reinstated Police Commissioner David Manning . . . commission of inquiry pledged to study the police force. Image: Andrew Kutan/RNZ Pacific

Amnesty International called on authorities to protect human rights in response to the riots.

The 14-day state of emergency following the violence has now ended.

The National newspaper reported Prime Minister James Marape announced Manning’s reinstatement, and that of Taies Sansan as the Department of Personnel Management Secretary, after administrative preliminary investigations concluded.

However, Treasury Secretary Andrew Oake and Finance Secretary Samuel Penias remained suspended “due to their failure to update the salary system, which led to the events of Jan 10”, Marape said.

Marape also said Deputy Police Commissioner Dr Philip Mina was being suspended.

A commission of inquiry will be appointed to look into the police force.

“The commission of inquiry will be headed by a judge from the Supreme Court and National Court, and will be concluded as soon as possible, to look into the structure, the operation, and their ethics of conduct,” Marape said.

“The country deserves to have a police force that is effective and efficient. We will leave no stone unturned as we recover, reboot and restore.”

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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