By JASON GIMA WURI
The Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) is coming under more scrutiny after the illegal actions of its members during another incident last weekend.
According to reports from several eyewitness accounts and the media, Rogue soldiers attacked innocent citizens and then looted properties at an Eastern Highlands settlement at Seven Mile, outside Port Moresby.
Five young men were treated with serious wounds at the Port Moresby General Hospital while another two were at home. Three other families lost everything except for the clothes they were wearing.
The raid was in responds to an incident two weeks ago when an Eastern Highlands family member went to buy betelnut and was attacked by drunken soldiers (Reasons unknown as investigation are said to be under way).
He went ahead to get his reinforcements and subsequently attacked the soldiers. However the Eastern Highlands family members who attacked the soldiers were picked up and locked up by Police and there was no need for retaliation.
But the PNGDF soldiers returned with the other members of the army and demanded K20, 000 from the families of those who attacked the soldiers, the confrontation eventually turning nasty and leading to the loss of their properties.
The Policemen from the Six Mile Police Station were at the scene but did nothing as the soldiers were fully armed and violent.
NCD Superintendent Operations Perou Ndranou confirmed that the soldiers were under the influence of liquor and destroyed the properties of innocent families and residents.
In July of this year, we also had the PNGDF soldiers from Taurama Barracks who went on a rampage, destroying state property at the University of Papua New Guinea’s medical faculty at Three Mile.
According to reports it was a similar incident where a drunken soldier got into a fight with a student at an ATM machine which ended up in a brawl and as usual, the soldier returned to the barracks to get reinforcements to attack the innocent students.
Whatever reason the PNGDF rogue soldiers give to lay claim that one of their fellow soldiers was harassed so they retaliated by harming citizens and destroying their properties etc, is a sickening excuse that keeps surfacing and tarnishing the image of the PNGDF.
Soldiers raided the UPNG Medical Faculty, Yet the police come up on media saying” Police are now investigating the destruction and damage to properties, and serious assault on three to four people”
So what was the result of the previous incident that happened at Medical Faculty? Were arrests being made? Were the culprit soldiers apprehended? Police should stop lying to the general public and carry out their duties effectively without fear or favor.
The deteriorating state in the chain of command within the PNGDF hierarchy has been showing in the ill discipline of the soldiers who at most times get into trouble while on drinking sprees in and around the city. They think that wearing the PNGDF uniform makes them immune and above the law.
But the fact that the soldiers are now running wild and taking the law into their own hands by looting private (Settlement Case) and government owned (Medical Facaulty case) properties after the settlement incident over the weekend are clear signs that the chain of command is breaking down yet the rogue soldiers continue to harm and threaten the lives of the very citizens they swear on oath to protect and defend.
This is a case for Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Defence Minister Fabian Pok and Brigadier General and Commander Francis Agwi to intervene and take drastic actions to penalize those rotten eggs (soldiers) demeaning the so-called disciplined force of the country.
On EMTV news on Sunday (01/09/13) there was a report of an attack on a private property at 7 mile (POM) by members of the PNGDF. Has the PNGDF hierarchy carried out any disciplinary action on their members who were involved in the previous incidents?
It is truly a sad state of affairs in Papua New Guinea.
We need the international community like the United Nations and others to intervene on the issue of national security because the way things are going, sooner or later, our very own Disciplinary Force and its rogue soldiers will start a war against the innocent citizens of the land and there is nothing the government and the Royal Police Constabulary Force can do to help the citizens because they too will be powerless.
It is sad that we have a force that is truly a threat to the people whom they are supposed to protect.