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Papua New Guinea police and army involved in shootout at lock-up

Papua New Guinea's police and army have formed a joint taskforce to investigate a shootout between the two forces that left four men in hospital with gunshot wounds.

Businesses located near the confrontation closed their doors and there were reports of looting following the clash.

"After last night's stand off, culminating from a drunken brawl between our soldiers and policemen ... senior officers from both the defence force and the constabulary have now formed a taskforce to investigate," deputy police commissioner Jim Andrews said.

"I appeal to all members of the constabulary to refrain from provoking or inciting further violence with our counterparts from the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF)."

The altercation began in the early hours of Saturday morning in the Port Moresby suburb of Boroko.

Police say a group of soldiers were drunk and disorderly on the street in front of a nightclub.

They arrested several soldiers and locked them up at the nearby Boroko police station.

A short time later, a group of soldiers arrived at the police station and managed to free three soldiers from the cells.

"Soldiers and policemen were embroiled in a violent confrontation and several gunshots were discharged," deputy commissioner Andrews said.

Four soldiers were hospitalised with gunshot injuries.

At the weekend, the police and army set up separate roadblocks in the area surrounding Boroko police station and the army's Murray Barracks.

Police say the situation is under control and senior officers of both forces held a joint press conference on Saturday.

"We don't want to speculate [on] anything as yet," colonel Vagi Oala, acting PNGDF chief of staff, said.

He said a preliminary report about the incident is expected by Tuesday.

"Appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken against any member of these two disciplinary forces who are found to have broken the law," deputy commissioner Andrews said.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) have more than 70 officers in PNG advising the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary but were not involved in the incident.

"We remain vigilant about the safety and security of our officers and we are assessing the situation as it unfolds," Assistant Commissioner Alan Scott, who leads the AFP advisory deployment, said.