Police Commissioner David Manning said they will do everything in their power, to address the new and emerging crime of kidnap and asking for ransom, as it is a threat to PNG’s National security and safety and must be stopped from setting roots at all costs.
He said this as part of a strong message to criminals involved in the recent kidnapping in Walagu, near Mt Bosavi in the Southern Highlands Province.
“You can run but you cannot hide!” He said the criminals and their associates are being identified and that it was only a matter of time before they care brought to account for their evil actions.
“As I have said in an early statement, there is no time limit to our investigation. We will continue until every last criminal and their associates are brought to justice. This new and emerging crime is a threat to our national security and safety and must be stopped from setting roots at all cost.”
Commissioner Manning said policemen have continued investigations since the first kidnapping of the Australian academic and his PNG counterparts.
“We have now established that there are communication links between these criminals and various prominent district, provincial and national leaders.We will be interested in questioning them as to how the leaders know these criminals and why they were communicating with them.”
“We have also identified individuals aiding the fugitives responsible for abductions in Bosavi and they will be arrested and charged as well. Several people, including some local elected representatives, have already been identified and will be brought in for questioning and arrest.
“Kidnappers and their associates are domestic terrorists who ruin lives and cause communities to live in fear, especially in such isolated areas.
“Regardless of whether they held a weapon or tried to hinder law enforcement, domestic terrorists will be rounded up and face the consequences of their actions. He said there is a high level of community support as local people have had enough.
Mr Manning said personnel and equipment from the PNGDF have been deployed as part of the effort and taking part in the joint operation. Additional resources are being made available.
He added that the evolving information and communications technology capacity of the RPNGC and other government agencies has also been successful in strengthening the operation.
“Through the effective use of evolving communications technologies, we are even more effective in tracking the movement and exchange of information between these criminals and their associates. We will be getting an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to assist in carrying out surveillance within the area as well.”
Mr Manning said police and members of the PNG Defence Force are currently on the ground in the area and will remain until the threat is eliminated.
Also, Deputy Police Commissioner for Regional Operations, Dr Philip Mitna, has recently returned from the area of interest to maintain an overall appreciation of the situation and what is required to tackle the threat.
“We extracted all the victims in the recent kidnapping and supported them with their medical needs, counseling and other assistance required by the victims. We are now also assisting them get the professional help required to enable them to recover from the acts of violence perpetrated against them.
“From the government side, Police and the PNG Defence Force are on the ground assisting the victims and their families deal with what had happened,” Mr. Manning said.