8 Feb 2011

Suspended provincial police chief in PNG faces charges

8:02 pm on 8 February 2011

The suspended police chief in Papua New Guinea's Sandaun province faces criminal charges as a a major national security forces operation in the border area which he refused to co-operate with continues.

Operation Sunset Merona has been underway for three weeks with more than 100 people arrested and detained for alleged illegal movement across the border from Indonesia.

Sandaun Governor Simon Solo has confirmed Police Chief Sakawar Kasieng was suspended by the Police Regional Command after reports he refused access for the Operation to local police resources.

"Since the beginning of this operation since they (the joint forces) came through from Moresby to Vanimo, some in the province, the local police commander is not co-operating"

with the Operation since he got a bit upset maybe with something.

Meanwhile, Sakawar Kasieng's claim that soldiers who are part of the Operation stormed his home and threatened his family on Sunday has been dismissed by the head of Operation Sunset Merona.

Commander Jerry Frank says that troops used the correct procedure to summon the suspended Police chief for questioning.

Commander Frank says Mr Kasieng is now facing criminal charges unrelated to his lack of co-operation with the Border crackdown.

In the meantime, he's been charged with two charges of unlawful assault, one charge of being unlawfully on premises, wilful damage, nuisance and being in possession of live ammunition.

Commander Jerry Frank says around a hundred Papuan detainees arrested as part of Operation Sunset Merona could face charges for being in PNG without permits.

He says 14 suspected OPM Free West Papua members are among the detainees and could face other charges relating to operating as soldiers and conducting training in PNG.