11 Aug 2014

Recruit now says former PNG army head

11:06 am on 11 August 2014

A former head of Papua New Guinea's defence force has urged the government to wake up to the need to recruit young people into the military.

Major General Jerry Singirok has criticised what he sees as a lack of political will to rebuild the army.

He says plans to grow the capacity and numbers of the force are being held back by the government's failure to repatriate and pay hundreds of retrenched soldiers dating back to 1999.

Last year, the Defence Minister Fabian Pok said that personnel numbers would be built from 2,000 to 5,000 in four years.

General Singirok says there is little excuse for the numbers remaining static.

"There'll be in excess of about a million youth ready to join the military if there's an opportunity. There's so many push-outs in our educational institutions and there's lack of job opportunities. This is the right time to employ recruits to join the military."

Major General Jerry Singirok

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Photo: RNZ