Sydney Morning Herald, 4 May 2012
The government of Papua New Guinea is being urged to send troops to Enga province in the nation's north, where an MP is allegedly arming himself in preparation for the June election.
The call, from Lutheran Bishop David Piso, comes as the government of Peter O'Neill announces a troop callout to the neighbouring Southern Highlands to quell law and order issues.
Bishop Piso's call also comes after Internal Security Minister John Boito this week urged MPs to give up their weapons as the election draws near.
"I have seen relatives of an MP in police uniform, but I will not say who," Bishop Piso told AAP on Friday.
"The weapons are increasing. There has been an amassing of guns.
"There are homemade guns, they have been making them. Three shots, five shots and 15 shots. I have seen two AK-47s."
Bishop Piso, a former military chaplain in the PNG Defence Force, on Friday publicly urged the government to send troops to the region ahead of the election.
"Please do not waste any more time," he urged the government on the front page of Friday's Post Courier newspaper.
The bishop's plea came as the government announced a troop callout to neighbouring resources-rich Tari and Hela provinces in the Southern Highlands, as well as Porgera in Enga.
In late March, hundreds of illegal miners reportedly converged on the Porgera goldmine in Enga, threatening and injuring staff and destroying equipment.
Roadblocks in the Southern Highland town of Tari have disrupted parts of the massive Exxon-Mobil liquefied natural gas project.
The roadblocks were set up in the weeks after up to 29 settlers were killed in a landslide at the Tumbi quarry, which Exxon said it had closed months before the accident.
"The government's decision for this callout is to create an avenue for all stakeholders to establish dialogue to address the law and order problems in Hela, Tari and Porgera," Office of Security Coordination and Assessment (OSCA) acting director-general Ian Jinga said in a statement.
"This is because the multibillion (dollar) projects built here are very important for the economic lifeline of the country.
"Illegal activities by a few individuals that pose a threat to these major projects will not be tolerated."