Australian Army Man Killed By Youth Gang

Sydney Morning Herald

Monday March 11, 1991

By MARY-LOUISE O'CALLAGHAN Herald Correspondent

HONIARA, Sunday: An Australian Army officer shot dead outside his Port Moresby home appeared to have been killed by a youth gang, Papua New Guinea police said.

They said Warrant Officer Gregory Ronald Dowsett, 42, was probably shot by"rascals" - gangs of unemployed youths who have pushed violent crimes, especially armed robberies, to endemic levels in Papua New Guinea towns in the past two years.

Port Moresby's Central Police Commander, Matthew Minok, who is heading the investigation into the shooting, pointed to a rascal gang. He said PNG's Prime Minister, Mr Rabbie Namaliu, had been briefed on the shooting.

The dead man's wife, Mrs Jenny Dowsett, told police the attack occurred as she and her husband were returning from a party about 3.45am yesterday.

She said about five youths surrounded their car when they stopped to open the security gate. Warrant Officer Dowsett's door, which was unlocked, was pulled open and he was dragged from the car. When he attempted to stop the youths reaching his wife, he was shot in the back.

A radio was also ripped from the Dowsetts' car, which was not carrying diplomatic plates. But Mrs Dowsett, whose door was locked, was left alone after the shooting. She was under sedation last night.

Warrant Officer Dowsett was taken to a Port Moresby hospital but died soon afterwards.

Mr Namaliu is known to be particularly concerned about law and order problems in the capital following a spate of attacks on diplomats. Five attacks have occurred this year including the hold-up of a senior Australian diplomat who was forced to hand over his wallet by armed youths. Other incidents have involved the Ambassador of the Philippines, and the German Ambassador.

Warrant Officer Dowsett, who had been in PNG for two years, was among more than 150 Australian Defence Force personnel posted to Papua New Guinea as part of our Defence Co-operation Program with PNG. He was working with the Papua New Defence Force on a technical assistance project involving electronic communications equipment.

© 1991 Sydney Morning Herald

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