16 Dec 2011

PNG's police chief says no rift in the force after he welcomes back rebels

5:58 pm on 16 December 2011

Papua New Guinea's police chief has welcomed back a group of officers, who had been blockading Government House at the behest of one of the country's rival prime ministers, Sir Michael Somare.

Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga addressed about 20 officers, members of PNG's heavily armed Robbery Response Unit, in a small ceremony at police headquarters in Port Moresby.

The unit had blockaded Government House on Tuesday, trying to prevent Mr O'Neill from meeting Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio to be sworn in and guarding the house in anticipation of Sir Michael Somare's arrival.

Mr Kulunga says it is not a police issue - it's a matter between two political groups.

He says there is no problem in the police organisation.

Mr Kulunga says the officers hadn't breached the police code of ethics.

He says the officers' guns would be stored in a police lock-up and returned to them later, but he did not specify a time.