1 Oct 2007

PNG military leader dismisses as baseless rumours of planned arrest of Prime Minister Somare

7:12 pm on 1 October 2007

Papua New Guinea's defence force chief has dismissed reports that disgruntled soldiers plan to arrest Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare over the Julian Moti affair.

Defence Force Commander Peter Ilau says the military is not involved in any alleged plans to arrest Sir Michael over his involvement in the controversial Australian lawyer's escape to Solomon Islands last October.

PNG police have said they were taking no chances and would put on extra security for Sir Michael.

Stories that PNGDF soldiers would try and arrest the Prime Minister and have him charged with treason have been circulating in Port Moresby over the last two weeks.

Commander Ilau says the rumour are baseless.

"That's a rumour that everybody's hearing including the police. It is the same sort of rumour that people spread before the election on a military coup - the same people spreading rumours like that. The only sad thing is that no one is disclosing their names."