7 Mar 2007

Southern Highlands Governor calls for PNG security forces to remain

4:47 pm on 7 March 2007

Concern over potential election violence has prompted the Governor of Southern Highlands in Papua New Guinea to call for security forces to remain in the province.

Hami Yawari was last week reinstated as Governor after successfully challenging cabinet's suspension of his Provincial government last year.

Mr Yawari also successfully challenged cabinet attempts to re-establish a state of emergency in the province after the provisions declared in June lapsed this month.

However, the Governor still wants hundreds of police and soldiers to remain for fear of a repeat of 2002's election violence when the country goes to the polls this June.

Our correspondent Alex Rheeney says the issue now is where the government will find funding from to maintain the forces there.

"Because funding that was made available to the security forces over the last six months since their deployment in August last year was approved and sanctioned by parliament. Now as to where the money will come from to maintain their presence in the province until the elections in June is a matter that the government will have to look at."

Alex Rheeney