#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Papua New Guinea military coup fails

Friday, January 27, 2012

Papua New Guinea military coup fails

The Guardian: A military coup has been averted in Papua New Guinea after government troops regained control of an army barracks, the country's prime minister said.

Analysts warned, however, that peace may not last long, as the failed mutiny risks escalating political tensions in the lead-up to general elections this year.

Soldiers loyal to the former prime minister Sir Michael Somare stormed the Port Moresby barracks early Thursday morning, demanding the resignation of the prime minister, Peter O'Neill, and putting his highest military commander, Francis Agwi, under house arrest.

"The commander is now released. He's not under house arrest," O'Neill told journalists. "As a result, the government has taken full control of the defence headquarters."

The mutiny is the latest development in a longstanding saga involving O'Neill and his political rival Somare, who also claims to be the rightful head of this mineral-rich South Pacific nation.

Somare served as Papua New Guinea's first prime minister after independence from Australia in 1975, and again in 2002 until August 2011, when he was deposed by parliament while receiving medical treatment abroad.

The country's supreme court ruled last month that Somare had been illegally removed and called for his reappointment.

Soldiers working on behalf of Somare told O'Neill on Thursday that he had seven days to fulfil a supreme court order reinstating Somare as prime minister or be forced to suffer "actions … uphold[ing] the integrity of the constitution".

The prime minister rejected calls for his resignation, saying: "This government does not answer to one man calling on us to recall parliament."

He invited those doubting his leadership to introduce a vote of no confidence in parliament, "and if they succeed I will resign".

Elections are due in Papua New Guinea in mid-2012 but could be called earlier, O'Neill said, adding that parliament would resume on 14 February, as scheduled.

While peace has been restored in the nation of 6.8 million, it may be shortlived, said Neil Ashdown, Asia-Pacific analyst at IHS Global Insight.

"The failed military mutiny in Papua New Guinea risks significantly escalating the political standoff in the country," he said. "In the short term, there is the possibility of recriminations against military and political figures seen as linked to the failed mutiny."

The deputy prime minister, Belden Namah, earlier accused Somare of using "rogue soldiers to pursue his own greed and selfishness" and appeared on television to tell the retired colonel Yuara Sasa, who staged the mutiny, that he could be charged with treason – a crime carrying the death sentence.

"Somare has now lost the total respect of the country he fought for independence [for]," Namah told Australian Associated Press.

"I want to say this to Somare: you have lost your mind. You have lost total control of yourself ... You have lost sanity."

Somare has not made any statement regarding the mutiny, but his daughter and media spokeswoman Betha reportedly told journalists that Somare and his 20-odd parliamentary supporters were behind the coup.

Julia Gillard, the Australian prime minister, condemned the mutiny, saying: "The military has no place in PNG politics". She called for the situation to be resolved peacefully and quickly.

Papua New Guinea is home to 800 ethnic groups, and crime and violence are extremely common. In 2002, about 100 people were reportedly killed during election-related skirmishes.

Domestic flights between Port Moresby, the capital, and the cities of Lae, Vanimo, Kiunga and Wewak have been suspended indefinitely, according to the UK Foreign Office, which has advised British nationals in the country to exercise extreme caution in public areas and ahead of the election.



goodbye somare said...

Somare was stupid enough to support the Fijian military dictator to 'lead' the MSG. Not a smart move. Somare is now like the MSG - irrelevant and powerless. As is khaiyum's little hand puppet.

Radiolucas said...

Can we have a no-confidence vote for Frank & Co?

Taukei. said...

Coups all but over but Col Sasa is demanding indemnity - sound familiar?

mark manning said...

It would seem to me, despite reservations of many, that if the Supreme Court has ordered Somare's sacking illegal and that he be reinstated, then that is what should have been done. From there, Mr.O'Neill and his colleagues, can take the matter to the people in an Election.
If the Parliament isn't prepared to accept the Ruling of the Court, then why should anyone else respect and honour, the Constitution and the Rule of Law ?
If both Mr.O'Neill and Mr. Somare truly had the people's welfare at heart, they perhaps should stand aside and have the Parliament appoint a Neutral Caretaker Prime Minister, as was ordered by Fiji's court of Appeal in 2009.
Maybe the Supreme Court should also have done this in order to avert a Political crisis and stand off.

Anonymous said...

There are so many lessons that Frank and Co can learn from the PNG saga the main ones being shown by the stand made by the main parties in the standoff i.e either on protecting the Constitution or protecting the Supreme Court decision, both of which Frank,Khaiyum, Shameem and friends are guilty of trashing through their actions since December 2006.Feeding from the poor taxpayers trough is now confirmed to be their main objective.
The Prime Minister of Samoa seems to have summed up the truth to the whole issue "Frank did not bank on reaching this far.He does not have the guts now to call his officers now receiving fat salaries in the Civil Service back to baracks."

Anonymous said...

Mark,,, You're a pretty smart dude,i like your contribution and yes,you're absolutely right, why don't the two-O'neil&Somare step
aside and put a neutral person in their spot, to run the Government and call for a new election? However, if Somare was sacked by his own party,than the Supreme Court should not have treat into that political sphere?If
this was the case, the Judge making the ruling ought to be suspended? Still the two should still stepp-aside? PNG need to do this right, as an example to the world; and hang this ex-military colonel Susa in public and others who helped him out!!

Anonymous said...

dina says....


Anonymous said...

colonel Sasa is demanding a deal from the Government of PNG? Last I hear he's seeking asylum to Fiji and wanted a phone call to his coup maker Hero, Bainimarama? Prime Minister O'Neil,who is not easily persuaded, has asked the PNG
military commander, to lead a military assault, on the Rebel leader and to take him in dead or alive!

Anonymous said...

The fight for power other than that obtained from the people continues to haunt the MSG members. They try to copy Frank but the problem is that their brains are not as evil and greedy as that of Frank and his lollypop Khaiyum so they would not be successful.

MSG dou lako ga i valenivo baleta ya na nomudou class! Yavu no class SOB's!