PNG Establishes Task Force To Investigate Terrorism Linkages

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Allegations that overseas investors connected to terrorism to be explored

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Sept. 12, 2014) – The Government has officially set up a Task force to investigate the alleged terrorist network and linkage in Papua New Guinea after Prime Minister Peter O’Neill directed for an immediate investigation.

Chief Secretary Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc announced yesterday that the TaskForce will be led by Director General of the National Intelligence Organisation Gari Baki and membership would come from Royal PNG Constabulary, the PNG Defence Force, PNG Customs, and the PNG Immigration Services.

Other relevant agencies will be co-opted as and when required. He said that they have been given 30 days to conduct the investigation, take appropriate actions to dismantle the alleged terrorist network, and report back to him on the outcome of the actions taken.

The specific Terms of Reference (TOR) has been drawn up, which will guide the conduct of the investigations and that all necessary support, including funding have been made available to the Task Force.

The Post-Courier published a report recently of families of terrorists operating businesses in PNG over the past 10 years. Parliament debated on the matter and Prime Minister O’Neill announced an investigation would be set up.

On Friday September 5, 2014, Sir Manasupe convened a National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) meeting to discuss the alleged terror links, and further established an inter-agency Investigation Task Force to immediately conduct an investigation into the alleged terror links and take appropriate actions to dismantle the alleged links.

"You are to conduct an investigation into the alleged terrorist linkage, with a view to gather evidences, if any, and institute charges and prosecute all entities and individuals, including foreigners associated with the terrorist network, shut down all business entities associated with the alleged terror links and report back to me, within one month, the outcome of the actions taken to dismantle the alleged terror network," Sir Manasupe instructed Mr Baki and team.

He further directed all relevant agencies to work very closely within the given time frame to get down to the bottom of reports and ensure possible perpetrators be dealt with appropriately and the alleged terror link dismantled.

The Chief Secretary also pointed out that the alleged terror link was only commercial in nature and that the media reports and information available to the NSAC was that, "the alleged terror link is principally commercial in nature as such investigations will focus on operations of the commercial entities, and activities of individuals associated with these entities."

He reiterated that at this point in time these allegations were simply that — allegations. "It is the responsibility of the Investigation Task Force to establish if there are any truths behind these allegations," he said.

"If through this investigation, evidences confirm these allegations are true, swift actions will be taken to deal with all individuals and commercial entities associated with terrorist network, including shutting down their entire operations in the country," the Chief Secretary said.

"PNG will continue to be an investment destination for regional and global business, and PNG will continue to welcome all our foreign investors with open arms. However, as usual, business will operate within the laws of PNG," he said.

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