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Chaos affects mission

Dawn Gibson
Saturday, May 31, 2014

THE Fijian Embassy in Papua New Guinea is considering the relocation of its office after local soldiers stormed the building housing the chancery on Wednesday.

This information was confirmed last night by Fijian Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola in a statement.

"The mission is planning to relocate since the current location is not safe," Ratu Inoke said.

"Reports came from the mission that around 100 local soldiers stormed into the Defence Haus building on Wednesday morning with their demands on retirement benefits.

"Defence Haus, which housed our chancery, is owned by the PNG Defence Force Retirement Benefit Fund."

According to the information, downtown Port Moresby was at a standstill for about one hour while soldiers caused chaos along the streets.

"Information gathered by the Fiji Mission revealed that there was an outstanding issue that was before Parliament but the soldiers decided to take the law into their own hands and tried to raid the office," he said.

Ratu Inoke said he was informed that all tenants of the building started to evacuate as soldiers tried climbing and scaling the walls to get into the compound which was locked off by the landlords.

"While the local staff of the mission and the other tenants from the building included an international organisation and a foreign mission were evacuated, head of mission High Commissioner Romanu Tikotikoca told his diplomats to remain in the chancery and insist on their safety and sovereignty of the Fiji Mission in the event violence eventuated."

The mission told Fiji's Foreign Ministry that the issue was resolved "amicably for now".

Ratu Inoke also called on his mission in PNG to take extra precautions given the security threat in the country.

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