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Security Forces deployed to PNG Highlands Region

Papua New Guinea Defence Force Soldiers are now being deployed to the Highlands region in preparation for election polling that starts on Tuesday.

The deployment  will be completed by the weekend, when about 100 Defence Force soldiers from Moem Barracks in East Sepik fly in through Kagamuga for the election in Hela, Southern Highlands and Enga Provinces.

Election Security Operations commander Western End Kaiglo Ambane, said six Police Mobile Squad Units outside of the provinces started moving into Hela, Enga and Southern Highlands, and the deployment would be completed when the soldiers fly in from Wewak.

A total of 300 – 200 police mobile squad members from Mt Hagen, Wabag and Port Moresby with the 100 soldiers – will make up the response unit during polling in the three provinces.

Due to the recent major breakouts around the country, only a few correctional officers will help at the polling booths.

Assistant Commissioner Ambane said 735 local police personnel from the three provinces will provide security for the polling sites, while the 300 foreign troops will be on hand to respond to any emergencies.

The local personnel will move from Hela to Southern Highlands onto Enga as polling takes place from June 26 (Hela), June 30 (SHP), and July 04 (Enga).

The Police Mobile Squad units in the response unit consist of 5, 6 and 7 from Mt Hagen, 11 from Wabag and 1 and 2 from Port Moresby.

Due to lack of funding, the response unit’s deployment was delayed from the first week of May up to last week.

Commander Ambane appealed to all people and candidates in the three provinces to help the security personnel and electoral officials to help them conduct a safe, peaceful and transparent election.

ACP Ambane said this was the right time to test candidates to see if their intention to become national leaders were true.

“Candidates have put their hands up to become national leaders. Now is the time for them to control their people and ensure there is no violence, double voting, threatening and conduct the election properly. Their potential of becoming national leaders will only be shown after the election,” the commander said.
Post Courier/ PNG Today/Pacnews
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