** Sandline Crisis **

via Papua New Guinea


Sandline International

Sandline was seen as a saviour to the Julius Chan and Chris Haiveta led PNG government. The crisis on Bougainvile had dragged on and on and an end was not in sight. The PNG government of Sir Julius Chan signed a $46 million contract with Sandline International to provide mercenaries and sophisticated military equipment to spearhead a military operation against separatists on the island of Bougainville.

Copy of contract - released in Post-Courier and Independent on the 22nd of March 1997.

It has been rumoured that the then commander of the PNG Defence Force, Brig.Gen Jerry Singirok, had negotiated a $21 million deal with the German government.

Sandline International was a Private Military Company (PMC) which specialised in problem resolution and the provision of associated consulting services. On 16 April 2004 Sandline International announced the closure of the company's operations.

The Sandline website says "The general lack of governmental support for Private Military Companies willing to help end armed conflicts in places like Africa, in the absence of effective international intervention, is the reason for this decision. Without such support the ability of Sandline to make a positive difference in countries where there is widespread brutality and genocidal behaviour is materially diminished."

The business was established in the early 1990s to fill a vacuum in the post cold war era. Sandline's purpose was to offer governments and other legitimate organisations specialist military expertise at a time when western national desire to provide active support to friendly governments, and to support them in conflict resolution, has materially decreased, as has their capability to do so.

Sandline is a privately owned and independent business. It is incorporated in the Bahamas and maintains representative offices in London, England and Washington, DC in the United States.

Quote from -- -- Eleven years on the PM at the time (Sir Julius Chan) says he is not sorry for the sandline affair.

Chan was forced to step down as prime minister in March 1997 after then PNG Defence Force commander Jerry Singirok led military and public opposition to the use of Sandline International mercenaries. Sir Juilus was made a PNG Grand Chief under the PNG awards system (Logohu) in 2005.

Photo of soldiers outside PNG's Parliament house. Photo by M J Field.

Photo of Buka from the air.

March 2011 -- 14 years on and the former commander of the (PNGDF) Papua New Guinea Defence Force reflects on the 1997 Sandline mercenary crisis. Read what Major-General Jerry Singirok, MBE (Rtd), has to say on the matter -- -- Upon reflection Singirok says "it is disheartening to say the least that nothing has changed much since March 1997".



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Created 21 Sep 1998
Updated 18 Mar 2011

©1998 - - Trevor Michie