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Monday, October 01, 2007

PNG Police on full alert over threats to arrest Somare for the "Motigate" issue upon his arrival from New York

Papua New Police are on full alert following reports disgruntled soldiers plan to arrest Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare over the Motigate Affair upon his return to the New York.

The National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) also met over the weekend to discuss the “threat” but is unable to identify the PNG Defence Force soldiers behind the plot.

“We are not leaving anything to chance,” an official linked with the NSAC said yesterday and added, “Especially from the military, anything is tantamount”.

Sir Michael is scheduled to arrive in Port Moresby today from New York, where he attended the United Nations General Assembly with other world leaders.

Police Commissioner Gari Baki flew to Lae last week to attend a 2007 general election security meeting but is being given daily briefings by police intelligence officers. He returned to Port Moresby yesterday and confirmed when contacted by the Post-Courier that police were on full alert and were treating as “serious” rumours of the soldiers’ secret plan.

Unsubstantiated reports of PNGDF soldiers arresting and charging the Prime Minister with treason — over his alleged role in helping Solomon Islands Attorney-General Julian Moti escape extradition — have been circulating in the nation’s capital over the last two weeks.

The Prime Minister’s arrest, if executed by the soldiers, has the potential to throw the country into crisis as it could be interpreted as a mutinous act, which under the Criminal Code is treason and punishable by death.

The Opposition and civil society organisations have appealed to the Prime Minister to step aside, after he made an unsuccessful attempt in the National Court recently with three other applicants to quash the entire proceedings of a PNGDF board of inquiry into the October 10, 2006 flight.

The army inquiry’s report incriminated Sir Michael, senior bureaucrats and highly-ranked soldiers over their alleged role in Moti’s clandestine escape to the Solomon Islands using an army CASSA aircraft. While Sir Michael and the other applicants sought court orders to quash the report, their unsuccessful court application resulted in the report’s suppression being uplifted.

Source: Post Courier

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