18 Jul 2013

Australia partly responsible for PNG army unrest, says Singirok

1:26 pm on 18 July 2013

A former Papua New Guinea Defence Force commander says Australia has to take some responsibility for unrest in PNG's military.

The comment by Major General Jerry Singirok follows the weekend attack by more than 30 soldiers on students and staff at a University campus in Port Moresby.

In condemning the attack, former commanders have identified a key cause as the failure by successive PNG governments to repatriate and pay hundreds of retrenched soldiers dating back to 1999.

General Singirok says Australia's government funded the retrenchment programme but failed to complete it, leaving many disaffected former soldiers creating disorder.

"Once we're able to free about a thousand or two thousand soldiers with their families who are now in the military barracks out back to the provinces, to their villages, we will have space, we will have the ability to assert command and control. Under the current circumstances, where there's absolutely no money to conduct such exercises, we can expect more problems."

Major General Jerry Singirok