26 Jan 2012

Concern over involvement of military in PNG's political standoff

8:13 pm on 26 January 2012

A former commander of Papua New Guinea's Defence Force, Jerry Singirok, says he's deeply concerned about where the involvement of the military in the political standoff could lead to.

About 20 soldiers put Defence Force Commander Brigadier Francis Agwi under house arrest this morning and replaced him with Brigadier Yaura Sasa in the latest move linked to the power struggle between two political groups claiming to be government.

Brigadier Sasa says he has been appointed Commander by the government of Sir Michael Somare, while most PNG institutions are allied with Peter O'Neill's administration.

General Singirok says these are dangerous waters for the military to enter.

"The moment they involve the military in a callout or whatever role to assert political authority, then obviously when there's a political running stalemate, if you start to use the military force."

Major-General Jerry Singirok.

The O'Neill administration's deupty Prime Minister Belden Namah told local media a number of soldiers loyal to Brigadier Sasa have been arrested.