PORT MORESBY - The MAG 58 Model 60-20 seen here is one of the most robust, deadly and effective machine guns ever manufactured.
It is an air cooled, piston and gas operated weapon manufactured in the USA and Belgium that uses a 7.62mm NATO belt-fed round and can effectively engage targets from 200-800 meters and, in open country, up a kilometre.
In 1996, after trials, the PNG Defence Force under my command purchased them.
Then, a few years ago, some went missing. I have recently seen photographs of them on social media.
They have been installed on cabin-top trucks in the Southern Highlands Province.
A premature state of emergency in the face of this combat power appears to be a cheap, reckless and a knee-jerk option by the government.
In 1989, the then PNG government reacted to a security situation on Bougainville similar to Mendi today which brought PNG to its knees for ten years.
A solid province was depleted of it minerals for that period and denied a generation of the blessings they would have brought.
This seems to be yet another irresponsible decision along a similar path.
How can the government sustain the PNGDF at a prolonged high level and intense military operation if it has not invested in air mobility and cannot buy the most basic uniforms, boots, field gear, ammunition, rations, fuel and so on.
The country is stuck and doomed.
Brigadier-General Jerry Singirok was a career soldier who was onetime commander of the PNG Defence Force