Over 3,000 soldiers in PNGDF

There were over 3,300 PNG Defence Force soldiers at the end of 2016.

Defence Minister Solan Mirisim revealed this in his statement to Parliament on the 2016 Defence Annual Report and Policy Undertakings.

Mirisim said this is one of the capacity building directives under PNG’s development goals.

The minister also highlighted the increased women numbers in the Force.

“There are over 70 female soldiers in various capacities across the Force. There is one female Navy officer, one civil engineer, two lawyers, seven medical doctors, 40 nurses and the rest are in the infantry or operational units,” said the Minister.

Other capacity building efforts include training and acquisition of military platforms, including relevant hardware and rebuilding of Defence infrastructure.

“In 2016, four of our officers continued to participate at the United Nations Peace Keeping operations in Darfur and El-Faso in North Sudan and Zuba in South Sudan.

“Our elaborate training programs for all the soldiers, including those in the infantry, navy and the air squadron, continued throughout 2016.”

The Minister added: “There is measured improvement in our mobility and logistics arrangements and this is progressing well.

“Under our rebuild program, Defence has completed its reroofing and road maintenance projects in Murray Barracks and Taurama Barracks at a cost of K7 million.”

Minster Mirisim also highlighted APEC preparations with joint military training exercises with the Australian, New Zealand and US military.

Cedric Patjole