PAPUA New Guinea’s limited defence force might be stretched as the government reportedly calls out troops to boost security along the Highlands Highway and at the border with Indonesia.
PNGDF soldiers training in North Queensland during Exercise Wantok Warrior. Picture copyright Commonwealth of Australia (reserved).
According to the Post-Courier, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the troops would work with police to address the crime along the Highlands Highway corridor up to PNG LNG project sites and that the deployment could last for 12 months.
The National Executive Council also reportedly approved a PNGDF deployment to the border after some recent tensions between Wutung villagers in West Sepik and the Indonesian military.
The PNGDF is estimated to only comprise 1900 soldiers although the government recently announced plans to lift it by about 1000 each year until it gets to 10,000.
Over the weekend the Highlands Highway was completely blocked near Nipa by a bogged Mapai Transport truck.
Truck hold-ups and container robberies remain an issue along this vital road.