12 Jul 2002

One hundred troops sent to oversee elections in PNG's Southern Highlands

10:54 am on 12 July 2002

Papua New Guinea's Defence Force Chief of Staff, Captain Tom Ur says the 1-hundred armed soldiers sent to PNG's Southern Highlands are not there to replace the police.

Captain Ur says the platoon sent to Mendi have clear instructions regarding their duty.

He says the soliders are there to ensure that the counting of the ballot papers is not interfered with.

Captain Ur says the issue of maintaining law and order is a police matter and not one for the defence force.

"They're not there to replace the policemen. They're just there to make sure that the polling and the counting went peacefully and efficiently. We just make sure that those that have intention to disrupt counting keep away from the area. We are not involved in law and order. As soon as the new elected member is declared then our troops will withdraw."

PNG's Defence Force Chief of Staff, Captain Tom Ur