20 Dec 2005

Former Fijian soldiers given another week to get out of Papua New Guinea

2:13 pm on 20 December 2005

The group of former Fijian soldiers, in the Bougainville area of Tonu, have been given another week to leave Papua New Guinea.

Bougainville's vice president, Joseph Watawi, says the Fijians' visas expire on December 28, and if they refuse to leave, they will be arrested.

Last week, the government had said their visas were due to expire today.

The six have been giving military training to supporters of the money scheme operator, Noah Musingku, in an area controlled by Me'ekamui rebels in the south of Bougainville Island.

Mr Watawi says even though the Fijians are deep in the Me'ekamui controlled no-go zone, he doesn't think that will present a problem for police.

"The people actually want to see these Fijians out of Bougainville and out of Papua New Guinea. I'm pretty sure with that kind of sentiment being expressed, the people will in fact help the Autonomous Bougainville Government to ensure that these Fijians are out of Tonu, and out of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea."

The Bougainville vice president, Joseph Watawi.