14 May 2009

PNG Forestry Minister could face arrest over private security force

1:54 pm on 14 May 2009

Papua New Guinea police say they are awaiting an order to arrest the country's Forestry Minister for allegedly setting up an illegal security force on the border with Indonesia.

Assistant Police Commissioner for PNG's northern region Giossi Labi has told the Post Courier newspaper that police investigators have gathered enough evidence to lay charges against Belden Namah, a former PNG defence force officer.

Mr Namah's force, dubbed the border rangers, and set up to control what the Minister deemed to be lawlessness in his electorate - has reportedly caused havoc.

Mr Labi says police have produced a full report and are waiting on a legal opinion before proceeding.

Mr Namah has previously said the force was needed to counter the illegal trade in arms, drugs and other goods, and to end human trafficking.