Tuesday, 2 October 2007 1:03 AM

Possible Threat in PNG over Moti Affair (PNG)

There are reports from Papua New Guinea of threats to arrest Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare.

The PNG's Post Courier yesterday reported that police are on full alert following reports disgruntled soldiers plan to arrest the Prime Minister over the Moti Affair upon his return to the country and the Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) has met over the weekend to discuss the threat. However, the NSAC has been unable to identify the PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) soldiers behind the plot.

Sir Michael was scheduled to arrive in Port Moresby yesterday from New York, where he attended the United Nations General Assembly with other world leaders.
Apparently, according to the Post Courier, 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. Mr. Moti was to have been extradited to Australia to face charges of alleged sex offences but had sought refuge in the Solomon Islands High Commission in Port Moresby following bail last year. He was then flown out of PNG, breaching his bail conditions, to the Solomon Islands. He was appointed Attorney-General in July this year.

The Post Courier also added that the Opposition and civil society organisations have appealed to Prime Minister Somare to step aside, following his 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 of Mr. Moti.
The army inquiry's report incriminated Sir Michael Somare, senior bureaucrats and highly-ranked soldiers over their alleged role in Moti's escape to the Solomon Islands using an army CASSA aircraft.

Police are on full alert, taking the rumors of the possible arrest very seriously as it 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.

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