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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Sept. 28) – The Australian Army is believed to have hanged more than 200 native Papua New Guineans for treason and murder during World War Two.

This finding is according to research undertaken by the Kokoda Buna Historical Foundation is described as one of the best kept, deepest and darkest secrets of the Australian Government.

The Director of the foundation Maclaren Jude Hiari who is writing a book on the hangings said, on 9th May 2007 the Australian army allegedly hanged about 213 men between January 1943 and April 1945.

Mr Hiari said the official documents on the hanging suggest major disagreements in the Australia and New Guinea Administrative Unit’s (ANGAU) accounting of the number of people it had convicted of the capital crimes of treason and murder.

"The capital trials were held without the sanctions of the Australian Cabinet and that all official records have since disappeared in 1945 in order to protect senior officers in the New Guinea Force and ANGAU," Mr Hiari said.

He said putting all the information together with oral accounts of many of the family members of those hanged has indicated that more than 213 natives were hanged in different places. Mr Hiari claimed 103 were hanged at Higaturu Popondetta, 36 in Aitape, 24 in Wewak, 10 in Rabaul, 5 in Lae, 13 in Port Moresby, 3 in Rigo, 4 in Abau 3 at Samarai and 8 on Misima.

"I call on the relatives and family members of those hanged to come forward so that the facts surrounding the hanging can be gathered," Mr Hiari said.

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