PNG Defence Force (PNGDF)

First 100 soldiers leave for Aust

Prime Minister James Marape farewelled the troops along with Government and Australian High Commission officials.

The soldiers from the Engineering Battalion of the 1st Royal Pacific Island Regiment (1PIR) and a small liaison and support staff make up the 17th Kumul Force.

They will be deployed for three months to carry out routine clearance tasks of roads and bridges blocked by fallen trees so firefighters could get to affected areas in rural communities.

Army clarifies operations

The NCD Metropolitan Superintendent, Perou N’Dranou, and the Operations commander, Colonel Boniface Aruma, were both present to address the media.

Colonel Aruma also took the opportunity to dispel any misunderstanding or panic caused by the operations.

He outlined that this exercise was in line with the normal Military Rehearsal Exercises that were run as part of their lead-up APEC operations.

110 PNGDF personnel deployed

This was outlined by the PNGDF Chief-of-Staff, Philip Polewara, who says the men are tasked with the intent to help restore law and order in the tension-filled area.

Polewara also clarified that the reinforcement from Tari will be sent back to their area of operations once the troops have been settled in.

He said the defence troops were pulled in on Friday to provide additional coverage after a directive was issued by the defence minister.

Following this morning's deployment, the Tari unit will be retracted to safeguard their posts.

Child allegedly killed by soldiers

Reports say the child was trying to cross the road when the vehicle hit her, killing her instantly.

While police are still investigating the matter, the soldier who was driving the vehicle is yet to be arrested and charged.

It is believed the soldiers are from the Supply Company of the Force Support Battalion of Murray Barracks, currently engaged to assist with relief efforts in the earthquake stricken areas.

22 villagers airlifted by PNGDF

Two PNGDF Bell 202 helicopters flew in from Tari Airport, Hela Province, to Huma Pawa village and landed at Huma Primary School.

In a statement, the PNGDF said: “Hundreds of people gathered at Huma Primary School as the helicopters landed. They all had fled their homes to seek refuge and shelter at Huma Primary School.”

Major Ezron Dekeaetavara said their relief supplies will be coming shortly. In the meantime, PNGDF is only helping in providing immediate medical evacuation emergencies.

PNGDF recovers 6 bodies under landslide

In a statement, the PNGDF said six of the bodies have been identified, confirmed and buried.

This was confirmed after the two PNGDF Bell 202 helicopters were deployed on a medivac mission to Homa, Pawa villages in the Mansis LLG at Kutubu, to airlift 22 government workers and sick villagers that were affected by the earthquake over the weekend.

The four remains undug beside the mountains were identified as Henri Kiliape, Hengene Kila, Simon Andali and Sali Wawi.

Precedence given to APEC: PNGDF

PNGDF Commander, Brigadier-General Gilbert Toropo, said PNGDF’s consultation with all the other security agencies have been ongoing over the last two years.

“Especially with PNGDF, we have closely worked together with Australia and New Zealand Defence Force to build our capacity, especially our special forces unit to counter any terrorist activities and we are really in the advanced stages.”

Toropo said the PNDGDF is well and truly prepared, adding that they have asked their counterparts, like Australia and New Zealand, to assist with their shortfalls.

PNGDF manpower growing: Commander

The government through the 2013 Defence White Paper directs that the Papua New Guinea Defence Force increase its manpower from the current constitutionally mandated strength of 5,000 to 10,000 by the year 2030.

Although the PNG Constitution does not allow the PNGDF to recruit manpower of 10,000, the government is working on the legislation to accommodate the direction to increase the force as required.

Nevertheless, after successive recruitments, the force has now reached 4,000 personnel; a 2,000 manpower increase from previous years’ recruitments.

PNGDF ready for APEC: Defence Minister

This was reiterated by the Minister for Defence during the launch of the Kumul Leadership Development Framework at Sogeri on Thursday.

Minister Solan Mirisim said the PNGDF have delivered a safe and trouble free election this year (2017).

“With this new leadership program now launched, we will not waste time and what we have not done, we will push for it to be done and dusted for a successful summit in 2018.”

He said the O’Neill-Abel government is focused on leadership and the PNGDF must take lead in this as well.

​PNGDF clarifies detained personnel’s leave

Joint Operations Commander Colonel Esekia Wenzel clarified that the two men sought leave prior to the May directive issued by the PNGDF Commander, stopping all personnel to apply for leave during the elections period.

Wenzel warned however that they did not get proper authorisation to be engaged in employment during their leave period.

He explains that this forms the basis of this morning’s directive by the office of the PNGDF Chief of staff for them to cease employment with the security firm they were attached with.