24 Mar 2005

Bougainville Governor calls for police to get tough and remove Australian fugitives from the island

7:03 pm on 24 March 2005

The Governor of the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville says two Australian fugitives are sabotaging peace on Bougainville and police should remove them.

Governor John Momis was speaking after secessionist leader Francis Ona demanded this week that Australian police and PNG Government representatives on Bougainville leave.

Mr Ona is widely believed to have been accompanied during his Arawa rally by two Australians who are wanted since they landed illegally at Aropa late last year.

The Australians are said to be advising Mr Ona, based in the Panguna No Go Zone.

But Governor Momis says residents on Bougainville want the elections for an autonomous government to go ahead without trouble in two months' time.

And he says it's time police got tough and removed the Australians, who he believes may be using Mr Ona for their own purposes.

"They are not just a nuisance, they are in fact sabotaging the whole human Bougainville effort to normalise things, to get elections going so we can have a new government. So I think they ought to be removed, but I don't know exactly how because the police are a little bit ... the police are all worried about legalities, and I think as far as the people are concerned they should be removed."

Governor John Momis.