Papua new Guinea and VanuatuNew Guinea and Vanuatu
Sir Julius Chan, our Prime Minister, was on his way to Kiribati for the South Pacific Forum leaders' gathering planned for 11 July 1980, when he heard that a Vanuatu mission would attend the gathering to seek the Forum's assistance in suppressing rebellious forces trying to interfere with the Declarations of Independent States.
for Brigadier General Ted Diro to join him at the rally. Vanuatu, then New Hebrides, was a rarity. On Vanuatu's largest of the islands, Espiritu Santo, however, rebel forces against the country's autonomy had different notions. During the forum in Kiribati, local chiefs under the leadership of Australia and New Zealand listened to the case raised by Vanuatu, but did not seem prepared to deploy forces.
In a declaration, they called on Britain and France to do everything in their powers to ensure that Vanuatu's move towards freedom is peace. It was his intention to proclaim Santo, the largest and wealthiest of Vanuatu's islands, the Republic of Vemarana. Lini sent a letter to Sir Julius on 17 July 1980 asking him for help.
"Since we have practically no policemen or other defence forces at our command, we would be very susceptible to subversion from inside or outside the count. "The Defence Forces' Military Network took the chance to expand to include more troops in Vanuatu to prepare for the mission. It was the notion that if Parliament agreed, the Defence Forces would have a sufficiently large troop that would be prepared to sit in Port Vila with weapons to begin early surgeries against the insurgents while it waited for other forces to join them.
The 30th of July 1980, when our men marched on the roads of Port Vila, Father Lini chaired his country's independency. The National Parliament held a meeting on 5 August in a separate session (in the old parliament building in the city) to discuss the use of forces. There are only two Members left in this Parliament - Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, then opposition leader and member of the Bouganville regional administration, John Momis, who was Minister for Decentralisation in the Chan/Okuk administration.
This is Sir Michael. He was against the operation. It explained to Parliament that the defence forces had been acting unlawfully by deploying forces abroad without Parliament's consent. "They are here now. You' re in Vanuatu. "Defense Minister Gerega Pepena said to Parliament that the first 300 soldiers to re-establish order in Vanuatu would be worth K750,000.
Following three hotly debated sessions, Parliament approved the deployment of our forces on their first mission abroad by 55 votes to 40. Stationed in Vanuatu, the troop was known as the Kumul Troop and was led by Lieutenant Colonel Tony Huai, who later became general of the brigade and was in office for two years.
A further mate serving in Vanuatu was Major Leo Nuia, who also commanded the Defense Force. Approximately two week after the deployment of the combat forces in Vanuatu, the Kumul Force started Operation Wantok Durua (Halivim Wantok - Durua is Motuan for help ) on the Espiritu Santo to neutralise Stevens and the Red Bull.
In Vanuatu, at the peak of the mission, the number of forces was around 1000. By the time it all ended in October/November 1980, the army had reached the following goals: The rebellions threatening the stabilization of Vanuatu were put down; the Vanuatu authorities were restored; they went home without great loss.
While our troops begin their second foreign mission to help another Melanese neighbour on the outskirts, Vanuatu is still a working democratic country. One thing is clear - in 1980 Papua New Guinea successfully mastered the Vanuatu crisis on its own. He and his administration received Parliamentary consent for the operation.
Very little help has come from our neighbours, Australia and New Zealand included, who are now in the lead of the Solomon Islands peacekeepers. Two of the main political figures who brought us to Vanuatu, Sir Julius and Diro, have since requested a local troop on a number of occasion to help the islands in periods of conflict and disaster.
He and Diro argue that the Pacific Island countries are too small and do not always have sufficient assets to react to security risks and to deal with major emergencies. Our soldiers' presence in Honiara to join the Australians, New Zealanders, Fijians and Tongans will complete the composition of the local armed forces that will re-establish order and order in the Solomon Islands.
That is the kind of strength and standard of cooperation that Sir Julius and Diro predicted more than 20 years ago. In 1980 Moale Rivu reported as a journalist for the National Broadcasting Commission on the Defence Force's Vanuatu activities.