23 Mar 2005

Australia yet to respond to Ona demand on Bougainville

4:46 pm on 23 March 2005

There has been no comment from Australia to demands by a secessionist leader on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville for its police to leave the island.

Francis Ona, who started the fight for independence in the 1980's, has emerged to re-state that autonomy is a waste of time because Bougainville is already his independent Mekamui kingdom.

Mr Ona arrived in the former provincial capital, Arawa, for the first time in 16 years to make his demand and then returned to his self-declared no-go- zone.

The Post Courier correspondent on Bougainville, Gorothy Kenneth, says he also told Australian police that they must leave immediately, along with the PNG Government.

"He demanded or ordered that they immediately remove all the buildings, the police buildings, and move out, pack up and leave, give them about two days to leave to gpo back to Australia and clean out their backyard and basically claiming the Australian government was illegally operating."

Australian police at Arawa would not comment other than to say there was no one-on-one meeting