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Soldiers allegedly beat local in front of family, draws anger from relatives

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Relatives of a man who was allegedly beaten in front of his wife and daughter by PNG Defence Force personnel— after a forced entry into their home— have raised a formal complaint against the international forces to the police.

The incident happened on Sunday night at Henderson to South Malaita man Maxwell Filei.

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A former Permanent Secretary and close relative of the victim Filei, Ethel Sigimanu, had already sought urgent and swift assistance to look into the alleged incident instigated by members of the PNG Defense Force against Filei.

Sigimanu said: “Upon receiving the news of Filei’s beating and abduction this morning (yesterday), I called Filei’s wife who confirmed that early this morning (yesterday), while the family was still in bed, they heard some loud sounds at their gate. Mrs Filei alleged that the group climbed the fence surrounding the property, took a glass mug that was sitting by the water tank near the house and flung it at Filei who by then had woken up to see whether someone had attempted to come into the family area. Luckily, the mug missed the victim and broke into pieces. The group, which consisted of about 5 or 6 people, threatened Filei to see them and when he asked if they could give him time to get changed, the group pointed a gun at him and led him out of the house after beating him really badly in front of his wife and daughter.”

Sigimanu said no human being deserves to be beaten with force that is a pure act of cruelty.

“No human being deserves to be pointed at with a gun and threatened under duress. This is unlawful. No family should be woken up rudely in the morning and have its property trespassed into without permission. The group has no right to do that. My cousin is not a criminal. No human being should be abducted or kidnapped as it appears to be the case now,” said Sigimanu.

As of this afternoon, Filei has not been released by Henderson Police.

What may lead to the action against Filei?

It was not clear what caused the soldiers to attack Filei but his family believed it could be in relation to a facebook post he made on 6th February. The post goes like this: The PNG soldiers are getting out of control at Henderson sea side, moving without mask, drinking with women, threatening innocent families. Who is responsible?

PNG forces are part of the Solomon Islands International Assistance Force led by Australia which was requested by the government to restore law and order during the November riots in Honiara.

RSIPF/SIIAF response

So what does the RSIPF & SIIAF force say about the allegation of brutality against the PNG Defence Force? SBM put forward the question and he’s what they said: “It is still in the early stage to make a detailed response regarding this matter. However, the Royal Solomon Island Police Force (RSIPF) has conducted an inquiry into the allegation and will update us when we have more information.”

This magazine understands tha Filei was kept in Henderson Police Station.

What you think?

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