PNG govt warns about threats to national security

9:26 pm on 19 July 2016

Papua New Guinea's National Security Joint Task Force has warned about the prevalence of threats to national security on social and mainstream media.

The warning, expressed by the government chief secretary Isaac Lupari, comes ahead of Friday's parliamentary vote of no-confidence against prime minister Peter O'Neill.

Most of Mr O'Neill's coalition government is camped with him in Alotau where spokesmen for the government say gestures of support for the prime minster have been strong.

Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O'Neill.

Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O'Neill. Photo: PNG Blogs

However Mr Lupari has cautioned that any politician who issues threats through press conferences or petitions by landowners could come under the scrutiny of the task force and police if they are deemed potential threats to national security.

His comments come after police in Port Moresby opened fire on university students when they tried to march to parliament in early June.

This followed repreated clampdowns by police on protests against Mr O'Neill and his alleged role in a fraud case.

Now, in addition to Mr Lupari's statement, the National Security Advisory Council has also warned about threats to people, leaders and public assets amid the heightened political tension.

Meanwhile, the parliamentary opposition, which has tabled the motion against the prime minister, appeared at a press conference with the former prime minister Sir Michael Somare who has joined their call for Mr O'Neill to stand aside.

Public pressure continues to build on Peter O'Neill to stand down.

A strike by pilots and workers with the main airline Air Niugini has had a massive impact on transport links since last week, adding to withdrawal of services by maritime workers and energy workers.

And as of Monday, members of PNG's National Doctors Association are scaling down operations throughout the country.