By PETER WARI DWU Journalism student
THE new Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) commander has been challenged by ex-soldiers in the Highlands region to finalise their outstanding retrenchment and ex-servicemen payments.
The new Defence Force commander, Col Francis Augwi appointed by the National Executive Councils last week replaced outgoing commander, Peter Ilau.
Former warrant officer Michael Witi congratulated Col Augwi on behalf of the ex-servicemen in the Highlands region.
He said he was happy with the new commander whom he believed would help them with their outstanding entitlements pending for some years.
Mr Witi said ex-servicemen in the Highlands region had been waiting for the for Commodore Ilau to help them since he took office but he had done nothing.
He said Col Augwi was a long serving member of the force and understands the hardship they were going through.
Mr Witi also said that Defence Minister Bob Dadae went to the media and also circulated papers around stating that he would sort out their
outstanding payments when he was sworn in as minister but was to no avail.
“Many ex-servicemen have been waiting for years and some have died without benefiting from their rightful money” Mr Witi said.
He said not long and he would be one of them and urged Col Augwi to hear their cries and work together with the Defence Minister to sort their worries.
Mr Witi also challenged the commander to discipline the soldiers of today as they were not like former soldiers recruited during the colonial days who used to respect the law and honestly carry out their duties.
He said today’s Defence Force personnel were full of pride and did things their own way, which was not acceptable and they must be disciplined in the force and this must start from the bottom up.