The Delta Company from the PNG Defence Forces’, First Royal Pacific Islands Regiment (1RPIR), concluded the Vital Assets Protection training.
The training is part of the regiment’s ongoing exercise to protect important government assets.
As 1RPIR prepares also for the major security operations for APEC, such training is considered significant in cases where there is public unrest.
This is a strategic exercise that if in the event that a government asset is at the threat of vandalism, the Defence Force steps in to protect the asset.
In this drill, members of 1RPIR, Alfa Company, had acted as angry landowners, while the Delta Company represents the PNGDF.
Those posing as angry landowners were upset because they claimed the national government had failed to address their outstanding grievances.
This exercise prepares soldiers to contain disputes using negotiation techniques at the confrontation level, as soldiers are not allowed to use firearms unless their lives are in danger.
Warrant Officer, Sam Mawi, who is the Squad Commander of the Delta Company, gives us an insight into how a Common Post is set up as the centre of operation.
The common post must have a radio centre, including a team of medical officers who stand ready to attend to injured soldiers.
The exercise involves the use of very high frequency handheld radios and very high frequency repeater antennas, which were recently given by the Australian Defence Force.
A number of observation posts, similar to this one are set up at strategic areas to monitor movement if the angry landowners try to vandalism the treatment plant.
In this part of the exercise, soldiers who acted as angry landowners will force their way to the second barricade where they are met by the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) Unit, from the Bravo Company.
In a real situation, QRF is called in when the situation escalates and more man power is needed.
This is an ongoing requirement for the regiment and each company is expected to undertake the drill.
1RPIR is the unit leading the PNGDF in APEC security operations alongside the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.