The EMTV News report yesterday about the Mt Hagen high school arrests following social media images of the police opening fire on students at the University of Papua New Guinea.
By Vasinatta Yama in Port Moresby
Two secondary school students in Papua New Guinea’s Highlands city of Mt Hagen were arrested after a riot following the police shooting incident in Port Moresby this week and were still in police custody yesterday.
The grade 10 students Hagen Park Secondary School were accused of starting the trail of damage and the events that escalated.
Principal Tony Buldung told EMTV News that the public was blaming his students for all the damage caused in the city.
But Buldung said opportunists had been responsible.
Western Highlands Provincial Police Commander Chief Superintendent Martin Lakari also confirmed the incident and the arrest, but said MT Hagen had returned to normalcy.
Buldung said that on Wednesday students were sent home at around 2pm.
He said at that time the public was already frustrated at pictures they saw on social media about the confrontation between the police and University of PNG students in Port Moresby, and were looking for ways to release their frustrations.
When the public saw Hagen Park students going out of the school gate, Buldung said they joined the students by throwing stones, targeting government offices. These included the police station, court house, and other government buildings.
Buldung also said that some property owners confronted him, intending to disturb the Grade 10 National Written Expression Exam, but he managed to send them away.
The Western Highlands Provincial Education board suspended classes for Thursday and Friday, and students will return to classes on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Mt Hagen National Court has been suspended for an indefinite time, since yesterday, after it was badly damaged.
The Mt Hagen PPC, Martin Lakari, confirmed that Hagen was back to normal and there is a strong police presence in the city.
Vasinatta Yama is an EMTV News reporter.