27 Jan 2012

O'Neill says PNG mutiny not only political

4:14 pm on 27 January 2012

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill says that events yesterday at Defence headquarters were related to a number of issues, not just the country's political standoff.

Police and the defence force are working to apprehend the man who claimed to have taken over the command of the Defence Force at Murray Barracks.

Colonel Yaura Sasa and up to 20 soldiers loyal to him are reportedly holed up at the Taurama Barracks, refusing to surrender until they are granted a pardon.

Some local reports say the incident was also linked to grievances over pay and work conditions within the force.

Mr O'Neill says a number of issues are at play.

"There are various issues that the soldiers have raised and some include management issues within the barracks. One or two other individuals took advantage of the political situation to drag the political issues into that incident. We are investigating that and we'll allow the authorities to deal with them as we move forward."

Peter O'Neill.