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Army Commander Toropo clarifies PNDF’s role during election

The Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) is not running its own security operations for the 2017 National Election, PNGDF commander Brigadier-General Gilbert Toropo said.

Toropo said when responding to reports that Murray Barracks was sending extra soldiers to specific areas in the Highlands region to support certain individuals.

He said that for a start this was not true but he confirmed that extra soldiers would be deployed on request from provincial police commanders, including the police hierarchy.

“Security preparations are an integral part of the election and is taken seriously,” he said.

“We have a constitutional responsibility to provide security and especially support our police force.

We had thoroughly planned our intelligent and adequately prepared ourselves to assist,” he added.

“Unfortunately some of our people including leaders do not understand the process in which security operations are conducted like the engagement of the PNGDF.

“I want to clearly state here that the PNGDF does not run its own security operations, PNGDF is in support of the police operations,” Toropo said.

“The police assess the security situation and request for reinforcement and we reinforce the police on their commander’s request.

“I want to make it clear that the PNGDF do not run their separate operations, we are in support of police and will reinforce police on any situation that arises.

We don’t have any separate operations.

“We have in total of 500 soldiers deployed but like I said in the event that there is a request from provincial police commanders we allow for that for reinforcement or to assist them.

“Yes some of the highlands provinces have extra manpower because we want to make sure that there is total security for our people to conduct free and fair elections,” he said.

“Our responsibility is to create an environment around that especially the challenges we face geographically. SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS/ONEPNG

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