PNG MILITARY MAY LEAVE BOUGAINVILLE: LACK OF FUNDS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (December 31, 2001 - PINA Nius Online)---Papua New Guinea Defense Force soldiers may be withdrawn from Bougainville soon because there are no funds to keep them on the island, the military reports.

Defense Force chief Brigadier General Peter Ilau said the force's budget had been slashed.

He said: "We are looking in that direction of withdrawing troops because ... we don’t have the funds next year to maintain them on the ground."

He said using the air wing and engineering battalion commercially would bring in some degree of self-sufficiency to the force.

But General Ilau said at the same time he did not want it to end up as a primary business.

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

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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