23 Dec 2002

Worries over the departure of the army from Bougainville

4:53 pm on 23 December 2002

The Governor of Bougainville has warned the Papua New Guinea Defence Force that it will be in breach of the peace agreement if it pulls its soldiers out of the province early.

The Post Courier reports John Momis saying that the withdrawal of the soldiers will affect the smooth progress of the weapons disposal programme.

Last week, the PNGDF Brigadier-General Peter Ilau announced the withdrawal of the remaining soldiers because peace and stability had been established on Bougainville.

Governor Momis says that the total withdrawal of security forces ahead of the weapons disposal process is likely to cause fear and insecurity to a part of the Bougainville community.

He says that the PNGDF acts as the meat in the sandwich to the police and peace monitoring group so they cannot leave as yet.