29 Nov 2005

Former Fiji soldiers detained for interrogation upon PNG transfer

9:36 pm on 29 November 2005

Two Fijian former soldiers have been detained for interrogation after landing at the Papua New Guinea capital, Port Moresby from Bougainville province where they have been part of a group allegedly training locals in military skills.

The group of eight former soldiers have been in Tonu at the invitation of the self-styled principal of the so-called Kingdom of Papala, Noah Musingku.

The two soldiers have gone to Port Moresby with the permission of Noah Musingku to, they say, "clear the air" over their activities in Tonu.

A journalist with the Post Courier newspaper, Alex Rheeney, says PNG's acting Prime Minister Sir Moi Avei held a brief press conference about the Fijians.

"He said that the two Fijians will be taken to a safe house in Port Moresby where they'll be interrogated by PNG immigration authorities. He indicated that a number of PNG immigration laws have been broken but every man is innocent until proven guilty so he said the due process of the law will be followed. So they'll have to be interrogated."

Alex Rheeney says Sir Moi indicated they're leaving negotiations to extract the remaining six remaining Fijians from Tonu to the Bougainville autonomous government and the Fiji High Commission.