16 Nov 2007

PNG police increase security for country's prime minister

11:20 am on 16 November 2007

Police in Papua New Guinea have stepped up security around Prime Minister Michael Somare after rumours of an assassination plot against him.

Police Commissioner, Gari Baki, says police intelligence indicated the reported threats against Somare and other senior leaders were somehow linked to plans for a protest march on parliament today.

The march, calling on the prime minister to step down, was cancelled after senior police officers talked to organisers.

Two leaders of the aborted march say they only wanted their grievances heard and did not plan to create chaos.

Steven Andambo of the PNG Millennium Good Governance and Noel Anjo of the PNG National Awareness Front said they agreed to cancel the march out of respect for the parliament's budget session.

Anjo said other issues of concern were massive hikes in MPs' salaries and payments to former prime ministers and chief justices and the removal of powers from the Ombudsman Commission.