By the Motu Koitabu The Way Forward Association Inc.
Yesterday, at 12 noon armed men representing police personnel opened fire on innocent people in Hanuabada village, killing two young men, and injuring three others. This horrific crime was committed in our home, in front of women, children and families. Earlier that day officers enforcing the buai ban came to stop sellers in the central market selling buai. They physically assaulted the vendors and buyers, many of them women from the community, resulting in attempts by villagers to defend their community members at the market.
Some time-after this raid, a second group of police officers, this time heavily armed and in unmarked tinted vehicles blocked off the main road into the village (approximately 400 metres away from the buai market). These officers positioned themselves in shooting positions along the stretch of road and without warning measures, began to fire directly at a small group of unarmed villagers, among them some small children, standing about 100 metres away in a part of the village with many dwelling houses.
Mr. Nicholas Rarua, 36 years old, of Apau-Vahoi clan and Mr. Toka Gaudi, 29 years old, of Hohodae clan have now been confirmed as the deceased.
Mr. Rarua, who recently left Exxon-Mobil PNG Limited as a Technical Adviser with the company’s Regulatory Division, was shot in the chest and died shortly thereafter at the Port Moresby General Hospital Emergency Ward. He leaves behind a young daughter and a wife who is 8 months pregnant.
Mr. Gaudi is unmarried and works as a driver for local radio station Lalokau FM. Mr. Gaudi was shot through the back. He was rushed to the St. Johns Gerehu Clinic and was subsequently transferred to the Port Moresby General Hospital for emergency surgery. He died at approximately 10:00pm in surgery due to complications arising from severe internal bleeding.
A number of other bystanders were also shot by the police in the same incident. We are yet to confirm their exact identities and the status of their conditions.
Aside from the unnecessary deaths and injuries arising from this incident, many villagers who use the market facilities as vendors or buyers lost belongings and money, as the police conducting the market raid indiscriminately assaulted anyone in the village market area and confiscated their belongings.
Even though the market was crowded, and the market is surrounded by village houses in all directions, the Police used several rounds of teargas in the raid. Many children and women were caught in the midst of this unexpected incident
The issue is not the buai ban, it is the enforcement of the ban. Who is responsible for their code of conduct? What mechanisms are in place to keep these officers accountable? What justice can we expect for this crime?
who want to ensure this kind of incident does not happen again.
We will be holding a peaceful protest march on Tuesday and welcome all neighboring relatives from Motu and Kotiabu villages
We want those responsible held to account for their crimes.
We want change in the enforcement of the buai ban
We want peace for our people and all people in PNG.
ROYAL PAPUA NEW GUINEA CONSTABULARY
POLICE MEDIA UNIT
Friday January 23, 2015
Police Commissioner Vaki promises immediate investigation into alleged police shooting of Hanuabada man
Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki today promised thousands of people from Hanuabada village in the National Capital District that an immediate and thorough investigation will be conducted into the alleged police killing of a young man from Hanuabada.
Commissioner Vaki reassured the villagers that those responsible for the death of the man from Hanuabada will be identified and prosecuted.
Thousands of villagers from Hanuabada converged upon the Police Headquarters in Konedobu at around 5pm today in protest over the death of the young man. At about 5.30 pm the body was brought to the Police Headquarters where they said it would remain until their demands were met.
NCD Commissioner Mrs Mere Oala who is also a representative in the Motu Koita Assembly verbally presented a list of demands made by the villagers to Commissioner Vaki and his senior officers. Mrs Oala said the villagers have demanded that:
- A post-mortem be conducted on the body;
- All funeral expenses to be met by police;
- They be paid a compensation of K10 million; and
- All market sellers be compensated for market goods destroyed and monies allegedly stolen during the raid.
The villagers said that Hanuabada village will be a no-go zone for police and that the road into the village as well as the Badihagwa road be closed as well until their demands are met.
However, Commissioner Vaki together with senior police officers including Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Operations Jim Andrews whilst expressing their deepest regrets and sympathies for the death appealed to the the villagers to leave the main road open as it served business houses included the LNG project as well as other villagers within the vicinity. Commissioner Vaki advised the people to present a formal complaint and letter outlining their demands for the RPNGC hierarchy to look into. He further reassured the villager that those responsible for the shooting of the young man will be brought to justice.
After the villagers left with the body Commissioner Vaki and his senior officers including Deputy Commissioner Operations Andrews, Metropolitan Superintendent Bawa met with Mrs Oala and village leaders including Pastor Seba Ovia, Sinaka Rabua and Councillor David Davai in at the police headquarters. PNG Defence Force Colonel Oala who from Hanuabada village was also present at the meeting.
Commissioner Vaki said an OB entry has been made. Terms of reference of the investigation are being drawn up and police will soon begin interviewing witnesses. He reassured the leaders that if any policeman was involved in the killing he or she would be immediately suspended from duty to face the full force of the law.
Initial reports from villagers alleged that the killing occurred after NCDC Reservists stormed into the Hanuabada market to disperse betel nut vendors. Commissioner Vaki said this allegation will be investigated and appropriate action taken.
Commissioner Vaki made it know during the meeting that due to numerous complaints from the public he had already issued instructions for NCDC and BSP Reservists to be disbanded.