Three officers in Manus Province have been arrested and suspended from active duty following charges of Murder.
The Commander of New Guinea Island Region, Assistant Commissioner of Police Perou Ndranou, confirmed that investigations are ongoing and more arrests are expected in connection with the death.
According to reports, the three police officers were arrested late last month and charged concerning the death of a man in Manus on April 17 this year. The deceased, George Mandrau was with two other friends, left Kapou village on their way to Lorangau town when they were approached by the officers.
Witness statement suggest that the police arrested them upon suspicion that they were involved in an earlier robbery without proof, and transported the 3 men to the Lorengau Police Station where the police allegedly assaulted the trio with hard objects, after which they were detained in a cell leading to the death of one of them.
“The deceased suffered serious bodily injuries while in the cell, so the detainees called the duty officers to take him to the hospital due to his condition. He was taken to Lorengau Hospital and hospitalized and later died.”
ACP Ndranou stated that a public complaint was lodged against the police officers and a team was flown to Manus from Port Moresby. ACP Ndranou also added that officers who step out of line and use excessive force against unarmed people will be dealt with accordingly.
He said common sense should be used instead of using the necessary force when arresting suspects.
“The arrested suspects have nothing to do with us, if you think they committed a crime, are about to commit or are committing a crime, we must use reasonable force to take them to the police station and deal with them.”
“Assaulting or insulting suspects only gets officers into trouble, and this is what happened to these three officers and others,” added Ndranou.
Officers from the Forensic and Internal Investigation Unit of Port Moresby arrived in Manus and conducted an autopsy on May 09. He said an investigation had been launched into the April 17th death, which led to the arrest of three police officers last month.
He further added that the two people accompanying the deceased were allegedly taken out of the police cell and forced to board a boat and travel to Madang and stay there for five years when the investigation into the death of Mr. Madaru Jr started. This particular case is also under investigation and those involved will be arrested and charged as well.
“The two from Madang will be brought to assist in the investigation. I strongly condemned the actions of the police and assured the family of the deceased that the police would work diligently to ensure that justice is served. Otherwise, the police officers had been dealt with administratively.”