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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, July 20) – The Papua New Guinea Defense Force is seeking local troops to be deployed on United Nations or coalition missions in the near future, Commander Peter Ilau said yesterday.

Mr Ilau, in a release that contained his address for the Remembrance Day on Monday, said PNGDF was currently pushing for the Forces Abroad Act to be enacted to make such mission possible.

He, however, said that would require strong partnerships and cooperation among government, stakeholders and the citizens.

Praising the country’s military, Mr Ilau said: "The PNGDF beyond any doubt has proven to be the true backbone of our national security. Our troops, from July 23, 1942 to the present national elections operations and the special police operations in Southern Highlands province, together with our Kumul Force deployment in Honiara, had proven time and time again that the warrior spirit of our Papuan Infantry Battalion (PIB) forbearers is still alive, and it stands ready to answer the call of duty."

Mr Ilau said that Papua New Guineans received their first order to engage the enemy in the defence of the country on July 23, 1942 where 35 PIB, which included Corporals Gabriel Lahari, Gabriel Ehava and George Metta led by Lieutenant Chalk and armed only with rifles, bravely held-off the stronger Japanese side in gun battle but soon perished when Japanese poured machine gun fire and mortar shells onto them.

"For the duration of World War II they suffered 61 casualties as a result of action, but inflicted heavy casualties to the enemy."

Mr Ilau said "while we take time to remember our forefathers who fought for our freedom and sacrificed their lives during WWII, this was also a time to remember the deed of those who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.

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