The attack on police and burning of 13 police houses in the Milne Bay province last week is an act of terrorism and will be dealt with swiftly and strongly says Police Commissioner David Manning.
“These are not your common criminals but are terrorists and will be dealt with as such,” Mr Manning said, adding that the terrorists have declared war on the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.
“We will bring the full force of the government down hard on these terrorists. All resources at our disposal as well as manpower will be committed to hunting them down.
“They can run, but they cannot hide. Their days are numbered,” Mr Manning said, adding the PNG Defence Force has been called out to assist police hunt the terrorists.
Mr Manning said he has directed Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police and Chief of Operations Donald Yamasombi to use all available police resources and manpower to flush out and capture the terrorists.
He said initially two Police Mobile Squads including the Air Tactical Unit, and Water Police will be deployed to the Milne Bay province. They will be joined by additional manpower from the PNG Defence Force who are currently under a three-month call-out assisting in the national pandemic response.
“We have a standing national three-month call-out for the Defence Force to assist with our COVID-19 response from March 30 to June 30. The PNG Defence Force will now be deployed to assist police hunt for the terrorists in Milne Bay,” Mr Manning said.
He appealed to the people of Milne Bay as well as neighbouring Oro, Central and Gulf provinces not to aid and abet the terrorists.
“They have gone too far and must be stopped. People who are supporting these terrorists must understand that the terrorists are undermining and threatening the national security of Papua New Guinea and must be stopped,” the Police Commissioner said.
In the meantime, a team of investigators from Police Headquarters and the Police Logistics Division have been sent to the Milne Bay province. The investigators will begin investigations into the terrorist attack whilst the Police Logistics team is in the province to make alternate arrangements for the families of the policemen who have been displaced when their houses were burnt to the ground.
“The policemen and their families lost everything they owned and have been deeply traumatised by the attack so we are doing everything we can to assist them,” Mr Manning said.