SOLDIERS from the Taurama Barracks raided a settlement at 7-Mile in Port Moresby on Saturday after accusing the settlers of assaulting one of their colleagues.
National Capital District Commander Operations Supt Perou N’Dranou said a soldier was assaulted a week ago by some settlers at the CAA 7-Mile settlement.
He said a group of soldiers demanded compensation for the injury suffered by their colleague. The compensation was to have been paid last Saturday.
He said when that did not happen, the soldiers raided the settlement.
“Police are now investigating the destruction and damage to properties and the serious assault on three or four people who were alleged to have been attacked around 4pm on Saturday afternoon,” he said.
The initial incident happened on Aug 25 when after an argument with a soldier, some settlers attacked him.
Police later arrested the attackers but the soldiers demanded compensation instead.
N’Dranou said police had decided to drop the first assault case and only deal with what happened last Saturday.
“Police will not investigate the initial incident in which a soldier was beaten up but will only investigate the second case.
“With the assistance of the PNG Defence Force we can identify and deal with those involved in the incident on Saturday criminally,” he said.
N’Dranou said recently a similar incident happened at Taurama and the defence minister assured the nation that such behaviour would be eliminated.
“But it is still happening,” he said.
“On Saturday, the Defence Force operational commander at Taurama Barracks (agreed) to work with police in investigating the case.”
A spokesman for the settlers Robert Gall said the armed soldiers came in a truck and attacked people, animals and burnt down buildings.
He said animals such as pigs were slaughtered while chicken and dogs were destroyed.
He said the settlers had no time to save anything and those who had lost their homes were staying with friends.
“There is no command and control in the army.
“The soldiers at the barracks are becoming a serious threat to our community,” Gall said.
“The police are handling the matter. There was no need for it to develop into this.”
A soldier from Taurama Barracks last night blamed the settlers for starting up the conflict.
The National/ONE PNG News