Soldier hijacks writ on manager’s advise

National

A PNG Defence Force officer acted on the advice and instruction of the provincial election manager to take the Kundiawa writs to Mt Hagen, Defence Force commander Brig Gilbert Toropo says.
Toropo said that initial investigations into the alleged hijacking of the Kundiawa writs by a soldier found that the officer was only acting on the advice and instruction of the Chimbu election manager.
“There are two factions in the elections office in Chimbu, the defence officer was only doing his duty which was to provide security for the election officers and support them,” Toropo said.
“When the whole thing came out, it tarnished the reputation of the PNG Defence Force.”
Toropo said the officer was removed from the Highlands region and was back in his area of operations to avoid further misunderstanding.
“We are also conducting a separate investigation into the situation, but so far we have not received any formal complaints.”
Toropo also said that Defence Force officers would be withdrawing from their election duty this weekend.
He said that with just a few declarations remaining, the officers serving in the  election security operations woud be withdrawing their services during the weekend and return to their area of operations around the country.
“I want to thank my men for their loyalty and efforts in providing security for the national elections. Despite many challenges, they did their jobs and I want to say ‘thank you’ to them and their families.”
Toropo said that those defence officers who had tarnished the reputation of the  force by their conduct of behaviour would be dealt with in the military court.

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