17 Mar 2010

Warning that PNG's reliance on private security threatens another Bougainville

11:00 pm on 17 March 2010

Papua New Guinea's former military commander, Major General Jerry Singirok, has warned the Government of the dangers of letting foreign owned security firms into the country.

He says an increasing number of these armed security guards are now minding the country's key assets and have enticed police and soldiers with the better wages on offer.

Major General Singirok says the Government has allowed the military and police to become so run down that personnel are living below the poverty line.

And he says the Government is not prepared for the factions arming themselves in Southern Highlands and Gulf Province.

Major General Singirok says these groups will end up in conflict with the state.

"And in doing so the Government has no police or defence force effective enough, properly catered, properly lead and properly supported to go out and protect the Government interests. And at the moment this is the danger that I am concerned about. And that is why I said if the Government is not careful the conditions are ripe now for another Bougainville crisis."