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PNG sends 100 PNG Defence Force Soldiers to Australia for 'Operation Halivim Wantok'

Papua New Guinea has sent  first 100 PNG Defence Force personal from the Engineering Battalion and the field engineers from the 1st Battalion Royal Pacific Island Regiment aboard a  RAAF C130 military aircraft to Melbourne Australia for the Operation Halivim Wantok.

This is a significant deployment for the PNGDF in that it's the first time PNGDF is going to assist Australia.

The troops will be in Townsville for two days before going to the Bush fire affected areas.

While farewelling the troops, Prime Minister Marape said "there can be no greater calling then reaching out to a neighbor and a close friend who is in need".

James Marape said PNG's offer to support Australia's bushfire response is a gesture of assurance to a close friend in times of crisis

Marape said PNG may not have the specialized capabilities and resources, but the country offers its hearts and hands to the Australian people.

He said there are many countries they can choose from but the first instance Australia invited PNG to assist.

Within only 8 days, PNG Defense Force has put together the men from the Engineering Battalion and the field engineers from the First Battalion Royal Pacific Island Regiment.

Prime Minister said the type of Defense Force they want to build in the future is not only waiting around for hardcore military activities but a Defense Force that is responsive to building a country working in partnership with the government and the people.

They will work alongside the Australia Defense Force Element from the Townsville based 3rd Brigade.

NBC News/ PNG Today

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