PNG SOLDIERS IN BOUGAINVILLE STARVING AGAIN: AKOITAI

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (November 16, 2000 – Post-Courier)---Soldiers on Bougainville are again reportedly going without food.

Central Bougainville MP Sam Akoitai told Parliament that soldiers who were supposed to get three meals a day were going without any.

They had also been supplied "rotten kaukau’’ from Lae.

He said the soldiers, who were loyally serving the government, deserved three meals a day "at the very least.’’

Defense Minister Kilroy Genia told the House he was not aware of the problem but admitted the department faced continuing problems with money.

He admitted there were "serious management problems within the force’’ that contributed to the problem with soldiers not getting their food supplies.

"Problems in the Defense Force are well known. It boils down to a problem of administration -- civil and military in the force,’’ he said.

Mr. Genia promised to look into the matter.

Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta also told Parliament that the problem of under-funding of the police was resulting in crime again picking up in the capital city.

Deputy Opposition Leader Peter Peipul asked how the government planned to curb crime, which seem to be reviving. He cited the stabbing of National Court Judge Gibbs Salika and the horrifying murder of a young woman whose body was found at Hohola as examples of the types of crime again hitting the city.

"It’s a very serious problem. People are living in fear,’’ Mr. Peipul told the House. He said the crime problem was nationwide and urged the government to do something about it.

Sir Mekere said lack of money for police operations was a major hindrance. But even if the police budget was increased by 50 percent, "you will still have problems with crime,’’ Sir Mekere said.

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

Provided by Vikki John ( VIKKI@law.uts.edu.au

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