26 Sep 2007

PNG rumours about planned Somare arrest denied

1:45 pm on 26 September 2007

The Papua New Guinea Defence Force commander, Commodore Peter Ilau, has denied rumours his soldiers planned to arrest Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare over the Julian Moti issue.

Commodore Ilau told the Post-Courier paper that there was no such plan and government officials also denied any such plan.

The responses came after rumours that soldiers at Murray Barracks wanted to arrest Sir Michael and charge him for treason over his role in getting Mr Moti out of the country to Solomon Islands in a PNG Defence Force Cassa aircraft.

Yesterday, a local radio station reported that soldiers wanted to arrest Sir Michael but failed.

Government officials, however, said the rumour stemmed from a soldier who wanted to mobilise the soldiers to carry out the action but no support was forthcoming.

Mr Moti, who is now the attorney general of Solomon Islands, is wanted by Australia on a child sex charge.