14 Dec 2011

PNG police commissioner not taking sides in crisis, calls for officers to be neutral

6:24 pm on 14 December 2011

One of Papua New Guinea's two police commissioners has appealed to his officers not to pick sides, amid the ongoing political crisis.

Police commissioner Tom Kulunga has also called on the public and leaders to keep level heads.

The commissioner has called on his officers to remain neutral, uphold the rule of law and remain focused on protecting and serving the people of PNG.

He says senior officers as well as the force's rank and file are intact and committed to protecting and serving the people of PNG.

Mr Kulunga says the police will ensure that there is peace, law and order.

On Monday, Sir Michael Somare announced Fred Yakasa would be acting police commissioner after the Supreme Court ruled 3-2 to return the veteran political leader to the office of Prime Minister.

It also sparked a political crisis, with the majority of the nation's 109 MPs refusing to drop their support for incumbent prime minister Peter O'Neill.

Mr O'Neill and his supporters had ousted Sir Michael on August the 2nd following a parliamentary vote of 70 to 24, but the court ruled that vote illegal.

There had been reports that the court decision had split police into factions but the Somare grouping Attorney General, Sir Arnold Amet, says they expect to complete the appointment of Mr Yakasa today.