Papua New Guinea Military Mutiny Adds to Upheaval
It is the latest in nearly six months of volatility that began in August when government officials decided the post of prime minister was vacant after Sir Michael Somare stepped down from the position due for health reasons.
Sasa and his troops want current Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to step down and Somare restored to his former position. Sasa says Somare appointed him head of Papua New Guinea’s military and denied staging a mutiny.
According to the BBC:
“A Supreme Court ruling in December 2011 then stated that parliament had acted illegally by electing Mr O'Neill prime minister. The court also ruled that Sir Michael should be 'restored to the office of prime minister.'
Mr O'Neill, who is backed by the civil service and effectively running the country, refused to step down.”
No one inside the country, or outside, is really sure what the situation is and what it may mean diplomatically. Australian officials are closely monitoring the situation and have issued a travel advisory.
“‘We are concerned about these developments,’ the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in an e-mailed statement. The department said it understood that talks within the Papua New Guinea defense force are taking place to resolve the matter following disturbances at barracks in the capital.”
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