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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, June 29) – Six members of an alleged illegal army were arrested in the Bena area of Papua New Guinea’s Eastern Highlands province yesterday.

They were arrested by members of two police mobile units deployed in the province for election security duties.

Police believe they are members of an illegal army raised by a candidate to help him win the elections, but provincial police commander Philip Solala declined to name the candidate when speaking to The National yesterday.

The six were armed with four home-made rifles, a .22 factory-made gun and a pistol when they were detained by the mobile units.

They also had in their possession live ammunition including 7.62mm, 5.56mm, 9mm and .22 rounds.

Mr Solala said the police mobile units were in the area to conduct awareness on the election laws and offences when they sighted the men with the firearms.

He said they arrested six but other members of the illegal army escaped with what appeared to be high powered firearms.

"The members of the illegal army are supporters of a candidate from the area. We asked the villagers to help us round up the others but they were reluctant to co-operate with us."

The six men have been detained at the Goroka police station and are being questioned by police.

They face charges of being illegally in possession of firearms and ammunitions, and for being part of an illegal army.

Police also arrested a murder suspect and another person for being in possession of a large quantity of marijuana.

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