11 Oct 2007

PNG defence chief says relocating border bases comes down to funding

2:50 pm on 11 October 2007

Papua New Guinea's Defence Force Commander Peter Ilau says relocating army bases to boost security on the border with Indonesia is an economic question.

Peter Ilau's comments follow a call from the new Forest Minister, Belden Namah, for both army bases in Wewak and Vanimo to be relocated to better monitor the border with Indonesia.

Belden Namah is making a submission to cabinet for the two bases to be moved to Vanimo's hinterlands to watch the border on a 24-hour basis to monitor illegal activities and security threats.

Commander Ilau says relocating the bases in such a remote area is a complex undertaking, for which government would have to allocate sufficient funds.

"Relocating military bases means that we have to relocate facilities, accommodation, office amenities, the whole works, and this has social impacts also on the lives of servicemen, many of whom in modern times rely on two salaries whereby the husband has a job and the wife also has a job."