On March 19, 1997, the Papua New Guinea Defense Force (PNGDF) led by Major General Jerry Singirok (ret.) executed ‘Operesen Rausim Kwik‘ to expel Sandline mercenaries from the country.
Sandline was brought in by then Prime Minister, Sir Julius Chan, and would be used in the civil war on Bougainville.
The operation sent a sense of fear and panic throughout the country – and it would have been especially frightening for people living in Port Moresby at the time.
At the time I was a Grade 7 student at Bundrahei High School (now Lokobou Adventist) and almost oblivious to the happens outside of my locality. However, when the news did reach us – through radio – it sent a sense of fear over me.
Although the civil war on Bougainville had raged on for years, it was contained, isolated to a certain part of the country. However, a military action in the nation’s capital could ripple down.
When news of the military action happened, I assumed a coop with a dictatorial leadership to follow. Fortunately, that never happened and it turned out that Singirok’s intentions were to save countless lives which would have been lost had Sandline participated in the Bougainville war.
Today, I have a much better appreciation of the military action taken and the implications it has on the country.
Also with the retired former Maj. General to release his book sometime this year I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the event.
Anyway, I am going to pen off but if you can recall where you were during this particular event or have an interesting story to share about it then please share with us in the comments below.