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In Papua New Guinea, up to 20 rebel soldiers today seized the military's headquarters and demanded the country's ousted Prime Minister be reinstated.
In Papua New Guinea, up to 20 rebel soldiers today seized the military's headquarters and demanded the country's ousted prime minister be reinstated, the Associated Press reported.
The soldiers replaced PNG's top general with their own leader, retired Colonel Yaura Sasa, who told Prime Minister Peter O'Neill that he had one week to stand down.
Both O'Neill and former prime minister, Michael Somare, claim to be PNG's rightful prime minister, after parliament elected O'Neill as leader following Somare's absence from the country due to a health condition.
Sasa said today he was appointed by the government of Somare, and has has denied staging a mutiny, the BBC reported. At a press conference at the military headquarters, he told journalists:
''My task is restoring the integrity and respect of the constitution and the judiciary. I am now calling on the head of state to immediately implement Sir Michael's post as prime minister."
Sasa said he may be forced “to take necessary actions” if Somare was not reinstated, as the national Supreme Court ordered last month.
“Both Sir Michael Somare and O'Neill have seven days to implement the Supreme Court's orders to resolve the current political impasse, or I will be forced to take actions to uphold the integrity of the Constitution.”
Reacting immediately, O'Neill's government said the mutiny did not have the support of the broader military, and urged Sasa to surrender, the Associated Press reported.
O'Neill then told the Australian broadcaster ABC News that the group of soldiers had withdrawn from the military's headquarters at Murray Barracks to Taurama barracks, where they had captured the commanding officer.
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He said that the PNG's defense chief, Brig Gen Francis Agwi, who had been arrested during the mutiny, had been freed.
PNG's Deputy Prime Minister, Belden Namah, also said about half of the 30 or so rebels who had been supporting Sasa had been arrested.