PNG DEFENSE FORCE COMMANDER NUIA CRITICAL OF ARREST

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (July 30, 1997 - PACNEWS)---The commander of the Papua New Guinea Defense Force, Brigadier General Leo Nuia, says his house arrest earlier this week will not discourage him from carrying out his military duties.

He called the arrest, by elements of the Defense Force, an attempt to destroy the cohesiveness of the PNGDF.

Nuia was placed under house arrest early Monday by Defense Force members who had earlier released Major Walter Enuma from a Port Moresby area police detention center. Enuma had been charged with forming an illegal army, by leading an operation that attempted to force the expulsion of African mercenaries hired by the former Sir Julius Chan government to put down the nine-year Bougainville insurrection.

Brigadier General Nuia was released by representatives of his captors after Prime Minister Bill Skate directed that all charges against PNG Defense Force personnel involved in the mercenary crisis earlier this year be withheld, pending a new official inquiry into the controversial military venture.

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