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Police quell rumours of a military coup

PAPUA NEW GUINEA's top policeman has issued a dramatic statement guaranteeing there will not be a military coup in response to last week's dramatic events that saw Peter O'Neill installed as prime minister.

Port Moresby was abuzz with rumour this morning that a contingent of soldiers loyal to former prime minister Sir Michael Somare and deputy Sam Abal had flown from Wewak to the capitalto take part in a military coup.

Police Commissioner Anthony Wagambie issued a statement aimed at quelling the rumour late this afternoon after receiving calls from journalists throughout the day.

"If there are people out there planning anything, then they better have second thoughts because the law will come down hard on them," Mr Wagambie said a statement.

"Police are gathering intelligence to ascertain where, how and why the rumour started."

"A coup cannot happen and will not happen. I can guarantee that."

He said both the police and defence forces were loyal to the government and condemned the rumour for spreading anxiety.

Commissioner Wagambie and defence force chief Brigadier General Francis Augawi had been summoned by Mr O'Neill to a meeting earlier today.

They both assured the PM that the rumoured coup would not take place.

Mr O'Neill could not be reached for comment.

Mr Wagambie said police were searching for a "certain NGO activist" who they said started spreading the rumour via text message and on the internet late last week.

Source: Television New Zealand

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