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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 21) - State of Emergency officers working in the Southern Highlands have threatened to pack up and leave because their allowances and food rations have not been supplied.

A senior officer attached to the police unit said yesterday their allowances were behind by two payments and there was no food for the officers in the past 42 days.

The officer, who did not want to be named, said most of the officers had been forced to use their savings to pay for the living costs and this was too much to bear.

He said both police and army officers working there were planning a mass withdrawal if the Finance Department did not provide the payments this week.

Deputy controller Mr. Norman Kambo confirmed officers were behind two payments but there was an understanding that supplies would be available this or next week, adding there was no need for officers to withdraw as the situation was under control.

Kambo said arrangements were in place with the Finance Department to release funds for the allowances and food and other supplies for the police operations.

He said there was no need to sensationalize the situation because like everywhere else SHP needed to be realistic. The extended term of the State of Emergency expires this Thursday.

Most prominent people in the province have called for the emergency to be extended until after July to avoid chaos in the elections.

Meanwhile, Kambo said supplies for the Bosavi people affected by an unknown virus would be dispatched this Thursday or Friday.

He said medical supplies and specialists had already been organized.

Doctors and scientists as well as agricultural specialists would be flown to the area to assess the situation and find the cause of the outbreak.

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