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World IN BRIEF : PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Government Halts Mercenary Contract

March 21, 1997|From Times Wire Reports

In a victory for rioters and army mutineers, the government of Papua New Guinea suspended its contract for mercenary soldiers. Five people were seriously injured in four days of protests over the use of foreign forces to quell a rebellion on a resource-rich island. The hiring of mercenaries to help put down a nine-year uprising on Bougainville provoked an army mutiny led by Brig. Gen. Jerry Singirok, who says the government overpaid Britain-based Sandline International, which supplied the mercenaries, while army soldiers received minimal wages. Prime Minister Julius Chan suspended the $27-million contract with Sandline pending a judicial investigation.

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