Mutiny quelled in Papua New Guinea

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The Independent Online

The government in Papua New Guinea has halted a mutiny by rebel soldiers and regained full control of its main military barracks, the country's Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, said last night.

Up to 20 soldiers loyal to former Prime Minister Michael Somare had raided the main army barracks, seized their chief commander and placed him under house arrest in an action dubbed Operation Protect the Constitution.

The rebels demanded that Mr O'Neill reinstate Mr Somare as leader, while Mr Somare himself issued a statement declaring himself as the legitimate prime minister.

But hours later Mr O'Neill said the military commander had been released and the rebel soldiers had withdrawn to their barracks, and that his government was back in "full control".

He added: "We will now start an investigation into the issues that the soldiers have and we'll resolve them as we move forward."

Mr O'Neill added the mutiny leader, retired Colonel Yaura Sasa, was being dealt with, but he did not clarify whether Col Sasa had been detained.