PNG SOLDIERS IN THE DARK OVER BOUGAINVILLE ROLE

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (June 10, 1998 - Post-Courier/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---A senior Papua New Guinea Defense Force officer on Bougainville claimed yesterday there was no clear policy or guideline as to what they are supposed to be doing now, the Post-Courier reports.

As a result, soldiers spend their time playing games and basically doing nothing.

The officer, who did not ask for anonymity but whose name will not be used here, said there was no clear policy on what their role is in Bougainville.

"We are soldiers who are trained to fight. We are not policemen and we simply cannot do their jobs,'' he said.

"Peace is already on the island and our job is done, or at least we are not needed here any more.

"If the Defense Department and the Government cannot spell our job out clearly, then we should be back with our families,'' he said.

He said that the Government does not have the money to continue to maintain the security forces' presence on the island. In fact, the officer said that soldiers welcomed their call-out from Arawa and have packed all their things and are ready to move to Loloho. But even for a short drive to Loloho from Arawa, there is no transport and "no money to effect the move,'' he said.

He said medical personnel have just returned from Port Moresby to sort out what will be left behind from the field hospital and what is needed to be taken back.

Title -- 1450 BOUGAINVILLE: Soldiers in the dark over role Date -- 10 June 1998 Byline – NONE Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- Post-Courier (PNG), 10/6/98 Copyright -- Post-Courier Status – Unabridged

This document is for educational and personal use only. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright source for reprinting. This PASIFIK NIUS service is provided by the niusedita via the Journalism Program, University of the South Pacific, and Journalism Studies, University of PNG.

Please acknowledge Niuswire: niusedita@pactok.net.au http://www.pactok.net.au/docs/nius/

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