PNGDF unit needs specialist weapons: Director

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The National,Friday July 1st, 2016

A DEFENCE Force special unit preparing to provide security for world leaders at the 2018 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Port Moresby needs specialist weapons, an officer says.
Special Force director Major James Vogae said they had submitted their request to the Apec Coordination Authority to give them specialist weapons to use during the Apec meeting.
He said they needed such weapons during hostage rescue operations, urban warfare and to counter terrorist attacks.
“The specialised weapons we are using now are provided by the Australian Defence Force and we use it during training,” he said.
“Our own weapons are not ideal for providing specialised security for the Apec meeting. Also our command structure is not confirmed yet.”
Vogae said they had been training with their United States, Australian and New Zealand counterparts in the past days.
The PNGDF unit was used to rescue Indonesian hostages from the Operasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) rebels in West Sepik along the PNG-Indonesian border last year, provided security during the Pacific Games last year and the African Caribbean Pacific meeting last month.
“During those operations, we have identified and strengthened areas that need improvement,” he said. Vogae said members of the defence force special unit were highly-skilled and could be deployed to any emergency in the country “within hours”.
Meanwhile, defence force commander for the joint operation command Colonel Wenzel Esekia said the exercise was to build the capability of the force and lift its standard to be on par with regional partners.