PNG army head condemns soldiers blockade of govt building

9:16 pm on 12 February 2019

The commander of Papua New Guinea's defence force has condemned the actions of a group of soldiers who blockaded a government building in Port Moresby on Monday.

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Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Koroi Hawkins

Over thirty disgruntled soldiers gathered outside the office of the government's chief secretary and demanded outstanding allowances for work at November's APEC Leaders summit in Port Moresby.

Defence force commanders visited the protesting soldiers and appealed for patience, saying the Department of Finance needed about two weeks to mobilise the funding.

The PNGDF commander, Gilbert Toropo, said police were ultimately able to defuse the situation and convince the men to return to their barracks. But he insisted their behaviour would not go unpunished.

Brigadier General Toropo told RNZ Pacific that individual soldiers going outside the chain of command and demanding the government to quickly pay their allowances was an illegal action.

He said the PNGDF would deal with it under a court of military discipline, so those responsible for the protest action would pay the price.

In November, dozens of police and corrections officers went on a rampage through parliament, after allowances for work during the APEC summit were not paid.

Police Commissioner Gari Baki, who was the APEC joint security taskforce commander, is reported as saying he was not aware of the payment of additional allowances for members of the disciplinary forces.

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