10 Dec 2013

PNG military chief to stay on temporarily

5:27 pm on 10 December 2013

Papua New Guinea's Defence Force Chief is to have his term temporarily extended until a successor is found.

Brigadier General Francis Agwi made history during PNG's 2011-2012 political impasse by frequently denying high level political requests to declare martial law.

He refused to involve the armed forces in the 10 month, high-stakes battle between the Supreme Court-backed former prime minister Sir Michael Somare and parliament-backed Peter O'Neill.

Brigadier General Francis Agwi was also briefly taken captive by a group of soldiers during a military mutiny sparked by supporters of Sir Michael Somare.

Mr O'Neill says the military leader has shown professionalism and dedication in his years of service.

The prime minister says he led by example in maintaining stability in the force and he would like to thank him on behalf of the people of PNG for a job well done.

His term expired at midnight last night but Mr O'Neill says he will stay on while the process of finding a replacement is underway.