Mutiny in the Pacific

Christopher Ryan, International Affairs '12 January 26, 2012 Headlines 0

A military faction in Papua New Guinea, led by the retired Colonel Yaura Sasa, seized control from military leadership in an apparent mutiny early on Thursday. The displaced head of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force, Brigadier-General Francis Agwi, has been placed under house arrest by the mutinous soldiers. In what may come to be a bloodless coup, the new military leadership is demanding that the standing prime minister, Peter O’Neill, step down in favor of Sir Michael Somare, the previous prime minister – perhaps the final act in the ongoing dispute over the rightful claim to the office of Prime Minister.  Australia has spoken out against the actions of Sasa and the others involved, calling for a restoration of the military chain of command.  With US commitment to shift military focus from the Middle East to the Pacific Region, the US response will be key if Obama is to empower his new defense strategy.

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