Jan. 26 - Australian media reports Papua New Guinea defense chief Brigadier General Francis Agwi has been seized in a power struggle. Marie-Claire Fennessy reports.
EDITORS NOTE, THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL There are reports of a mutiny by a group of Papua New Guinea soldiers coming out of the country, Australian media has said. The soldiers are said to have seized and replaced their commander in chief in what could be a ploy to help former prime minister Sir Michael Somare return to power. Australian Broadcasting Corp said between 12 to 20 rebels raided the headquarters of the defence force and put Brigadier General Francis Agwi under house arrest. It added a Colonel Sasa had since declared himself as new commander. The initial, sketchy reports have followed weeks of political instability. Somare had challenged the legitimacy of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill's government. He was replaced by O'Neill last August after his seat was declared vacant while he received medical treatment in Singapore. For many in the country, the crisis is a contest between the old political guard of Somare, who led the country to independence and O'Neill's administration, seen to offer a more open alternative. Marie-Claire Fennessy, Reuters