11 Jun 2007

PNG police hire helicopters and a plane for election monitoring

1:43 pm on 11 June 2007

Papua New Guinea police have hired aircraft from Australia for use during the election starting on June 30th.

More than 2000 security personnel are to be sent to oversee the poll in the five Highlands provinces to ensure it is not disrupted by violence.

The aim is to run the poll in those provinces consecutively with those in Enga and Southern to be held in a single day.

The police commissioner, Gari Baki, has said previously that moving the personnel quickly will be a logistical nightmare, but with air transport it is possible.

Our reporter in Port Moresby, Alex Rheeney, says the police have now taken delivery of four helicopters and a fixed wing plane.

"that will be a major component of their logistics arrangement. Those five aircraft will be at their disposal but there are indications that they will also be hiring commercial aircraft to fly the troops into Mt Hagen which is the main point of operations for them."