Komo soldiers charged for mutiny

The 11 Komo-based PNG Defense Force soldiers who were brought into Port Moresby from the Komo airport base on Monday have been formally charged with mutiny.

They were formally charged at 4pm on Dec 31, almost three days after they were disarmed and brought into Port Moresby after two of their co mrades were killed on Tueday Dec 22, in Komo.

They were charged under section 55 of the PNG Defence Force Act for mutiny. Mutiny is an open rebellion against the proper authorities, especially by soldiers or sailors against their officers.

Section 55 of the PNG Defence Force Act states that. (1) A person subject to the Code of Military Discipline who takes part in a mutiny is guilty of an offence. Penalty: Imprisonment for life or for a lesser term.

The soldiers returned for the court- martial sitting on Friday (Jan 1) at the Waigani National Court.

They appeared before Justice Panuel Mogish, however the sitting could not precede to address the issues of a bail application or transfer to another facility as counsel’s practicing certificates had expired at 12 midnight last night.

Justice Mogish however granted leave for counsels to address him from the bar table yesterday without their 2016 lawyers practicing certificates.

He issued orders for all the counsels in carriage of the matter to have their 2016 Lawyers practicing certificates by Monday Jan 4 due to the urgency of the sitting.

He also ordered for the soldiers to remain in detainment at Murray Barracks Military Police facility.

They will return to Court on  next week Thursday Jan 7.

Justice Mogish in issuing these orders said the court will only hear counsels in court when they have their 2016 Legal Practicing Certificates.

Police reports say the two soldiers killed last week by locals in Komo were allegedly involved in a tribal fight within the vicinity of the camp.

It is alleged they were killed after they were mistaken by the locals to be from the opposing tribe.

The platoon was deployed to Komo as per an NEC decision on On June 2, 2014 for a two year operation.


(Pictured above are the soldiers in a bus after the court martial sitting yesterday.)

Sally Pokiton