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O’Neill’s home province provides 70% of defence force recruits

PNGDF recruits pass outKEITH JACKSON

PRIME minister Peter O’Neill and defence minister Fabian Pok have been accused of pursuing recruitment policies that skew the composition of the PNG Defence Force to personnel from their own highlands provinces.

Deputy opposition leader Sam Basil says that since Mr O’Neill came to power 70% of defence recruits have come from his Ialibu-Pangia Electorate in the Southern Highlands while 30% have come from Jiwaka Province, home of Dr Pok.

Dr Pok and Southern Highlands governor William Powi have called Mr Basil’s claims “unfounded” but have not provided statistics to disprove them.

“The allegations made are an insult to the leaders, the elites and the people of Southern Highlands, Hela and Jiwaka,” said an emotional Governor Powi.

“Their name [has been] used on unfounded information designed to destroy the integrity and reputation of leaders and people.”

Mr Basil said he had “raised questions in relation to the recruitment of PNGDF soldiers” since Mr O'Neill became prime minister and Dr Pok’s appointment as defence minister.

“Peter O'Neill is from Southern Province and Dr Pok is from Jiwaka Province and it is obvious that the recruitment of soldiers are based on those two provinces with Ialibu-Pangia dominating,” Mr Basil said.

He stated that he had “reliable information leaked from the PNGDF to the opposition” adding that he had challenged Dr Pok in parliament to provide lists of soldiers recruited since 2013 “to prove that I am wrong”.

Mr Basil also said he had PNGDF documents that instructed recruitment officers to overlook “minor issues such as marital status and false education certificates to allow for soldiers from Ialibu Pangia to be recruited”.


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Martinez Wasuak

Really? Very interesting news unfolding since the previous months.

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