27 Mar 2003

PNG defence force troops recruited as special constables will arrive in Southern Highlands on Friday

10:27 am on 27 March 2003

A platoon of Papua New Guinea Defence Force soldiers is scheduled to arrive in the Southern Highlands on Friday as part of the first phase of police security plans for the upcoming elections.

The Deputy Police Commissioner, Geoffrey Baki says the soldiers, who have been given special constable status, are part of a contingent of over 2-thousand personnel.

Campaigning is currently underway for Southern Highlands six seats and polling will be held on April 21

Fresh elections became necessary after last year's poll was declared void after violence hijacked the election process.

Mr Baki says soldiers will assist police in intelligence gathering in trouble spots and public awareness campaigns.

"The initial deployment is for pre-polling activities. then they will be inserted into specific locations in Southern Highlands. They will be responsible for providing security cover in terms of either stationary patrols or mobile patrols into all of the polling locations and also for providing security if there is a need for us to enforce a curfew."