1 May 2012

Former PNG military chief backs deployment of soldiers to troubled Highlands areas

10:38 am on 1 May 2012

A former Papua New Guinea military commander says the deployment of troops to hot spots around resource projects in the Highlands is justified given the upcoming elections.

The Defence Force has confirmed that a platoon of 30 soldiers, deployed to Hela and Enga provinces in a government callout order, have arrived on the ground.

Landowner disputes have disrupted construction work in the major LNG project in Hela's Hides area, while Enga's Porgera gold mine has ongoing problems with illegal miners.

Major General Jerry Singirok describes the deployment as timely, saying it's incumbent on the government to reassure investors that it can maintain law and order.

"And obviously the rogue elements up in the Highlands know that if they act beyond what they're doing then obviously the government is at liberty to and capable of exercising such force necessary to bring those people to justice."