KOKODA TRAIL SAFE, SAYS GUIDE

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CANBERRA, Australia (April 3, 2000 – Post-Courier)---Diplomats who fear thieves may steal the Olympic torch in Papua New Guinea should look at Sydney to learn about dangers to the relay, veteran Kokoda Track guide and MP Charlie Lynn said on Friday.

"Runners carrying the torch are more likely to be shot at, robbed or mugged in southwestern Sydney than on the Kokoda Track," Mr. Lynn, a New South Wales state Liberal MP, said.

"I have trekked across the Kokoda Track 22 times with Koiari guides. I have been carried off the track on a jungle stretcher after being found unconscious in a gorge.

"I have experienced nothing but kindness and compassion and have never felt threatened in any way."

A newspaper reported that some diplomatic sources fear possible sabotage of the torch by gangs along the trail, site of a famous World War II battle.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

 

VANDALS AGAIN ATTACK THE KOKODA MEMORIAL

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 3, 2000 – The National/AAP)---Vandals had again attacked a Sydney war memorial honoring the heroics of Australian soldiers on the Kokoda Track, the RSL said yesterday.

The attack was the third on plaques on the inner-western Sydney memorial track in less than a year, RSL New South Wales president Rusty Priest said.

Vandals used either a brick or a hammer to smash the glass front of the Eora Creek memorial panel, he said. It had been shattered beyond repair.

The overnight vandalism came just three weeks after vandals attacked the Isurava memorial on the same section of the track.

"We're very upset about it," Mr. Priest told AAP. "Just last week we met with the Premier (Bob Carr), security and police to discuss putting a tender procedure in place to upgrade security."

The walkway, along the Concord foreshore, has 22 glass and granite showcases depicting the story of the historic battle fought on the Kokoda Track, in Papua New Guinea, in 1942.

Burwood police are investigating the incident.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

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