PNGDF, Police leave for Hela

About 130 PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) and Police personnel were deployed today to Hela Province for the security call-out operation.

They will join an advance team from the Highlands region, already on ground, to bring the total number of security personnel to 300.

The operation was approved by the Government based on the Security Risk Assessment Report from the Police Commissioner and will commence on Monday, January 9.

The report identified Hela as high risk due to heavy presence of unlicensed firearms, many of which are high-powered.

The general law and order in the province has declined dramatically with continuous tribal fights involving use of high-powered weapons and continuous threat to the PNG LNG project.

Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari farewelled the security personnel at the airport today and urged them to work with the locals and authorities on ground to restore law and order. 

The call-out operation, that will run for three months, will cost K11 million and Lupari confirmed that an initial K5 million is available to start the process.

Lupari said the call-out operation is crucial for the LNG project, which is a major contributor to the country’s economy. 

He said they will decide whether to scale down or increase the number of security personnel depending on the situation after the first month into operation.

The allowance for the security personnel and other logistics has been taken care of and all legal and technical requirements have been met, added the chief secretary.

Quintina Naime