While Mendi burns, Peter O'Neill hides out in Moresby
I feel for the crew of the ill-fated Dash 8 flight to Mendi

PNG forces may face superior firepower in highlands incursion

MAG 58 Model 60-20 machine gunJERRY SINGIROK | Edited

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.

Ready for the fightI am very concerned, if not frightened, that the PNG government is deploying police and soldiers to the Southern Highlands who are likely to come face to face with the MAG 58.

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


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William Dunlop

Noted Rob. But no more deadly than the World War II Lee Enfield jungle carbine fitted with Parker Hale peep sights.

I was squad leader when we won the McMullen Cup at the Magilligan Army Range in Northern Ireland in 1966.

Target 12" falling plates @ 1000 yards, Squad 6 constables, run short obstacle course fall down aim fire, in our case 6 shots 6 plates down in 33- 9 seconds - at the time a record.

Rob Parer

Bryant Allan Posted on Facebook :
The weapon on the ute is not an LMG, but is probably a sniper's rifle, bolt action, single shot. If you look closely you will see the ammuntion belt is just draped over the rifle and is pointing back towards the butt. Giaman LMG. But a nasty weappon nevertheless. Good for up to 3000 meters and best at 1000 meters.

Michael Dom

It's a sign of how fucked up things are that the ex-Brigadier General needs to report what is common knowledge on the street.

Shit, I heard about this stuff when I was a kid in Port Moresby three decades ago.

I guess it's just the official declaration. Whatever that means.

Besides, it's not the weapons (tools), it's how you use them.

An M16 with an M90 grenade launcher in the hands of an SAS troop is equivalent to a moving tank.

And I thought our defence boys had become better trained after the BRA handed them their arses.

Maclay Lamang

How did those high power guns went "missing"? Is the inventory system of PNGDF effective? Or anybody can get anything any time.

William Dunlop

How true Lindsay.I still still remember 5ft 17inch's very capable Policing in PNG.

He's well ably represented in Australia by his grand son Ben Robert Smith VC.

Lindsay F Bond

With more to the skills of policing than the bullish brandishing of guns, this may be a juncture for leadership for which military personnel and tactics can assume less obvious a role.

Was that not the case in the era of kiaps?

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