Frustrated PNG tribesmen capture 2 policemen – seize vehicles, weapons

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Southern Highlands tribesmen show off seized police vehicle and assault rifles. Image: EMTV News Facebook

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

Two Papua New Guinean police vehicles travelling from Hagen to Hela in the Highlands after servicing were fired on today in a Highlands attack, with one vehicle being seized and two policemen taken captive, report local media.

The Tari-based MS9 vehicles were shot at this morning at Tindom Hill, Semin village, reports the EMTV News Facebook page.

Loop PNG also reports the attack, saying it was carried out by “disgruntled Nipa locals”.

READ MORE: Mendi in chaos after renewed political violence erupts

A seized PNG police vehicle at Semin village, Southern Highlands. Image: EMTV News Facebook

But the news website also quoted regional police chief Gideon Kauke as saying the policemen were “rescued by another unit” while their weapons and vehicles had been removed.

Kauke said the police were “regrouping” and deciding on the next course of action.

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EMTV News said the first vehicle, driven by the MS9 commander, escaped with a flat tyre. The second vehicle was driven by two other police officers and three assault rifles had been seized.

Hela police chief Martin Lakari had appealed to Southern Highlands people to release the officers and the state vehicles.

Deputy Police Commissioner Operations Jim Andrews confirmed police were holding talks with locals to negotiate the return of vehicles and weapons.

Loop PNG reported the tribesmen were upset over Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s government decision on Friday to suspend the Southern Highlands provincial government following rioting in Mendi on Thursday.

Asia Pacific Report republishes EMTV News content with permission.

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