4 Jul 2006

Fiji diplomat in PNG advises caution over attempts to get former soldiers off Bougainville

7:44 pm on 4 July 2006

The Fiji High Commission in Papua New Guinea says efforts to secure a safe passage for five former Fijian soldiers stuck in Bougainville need to be made with caution.

The five have been in Bougainville illegally since late last year under contract to a notorious money-scam operator Noah Musingku, who has reportedly abandoned his camp on the south of the island.

Previous attempts to get them out of Bougainville have been met with resistance by Mr Musingku's supporters who said they could only leave after they had completed their two-year contracts.

Fiji's High Commissioner to PNG Ratu Isoa Tikoca says efforts to speak with the five directly have failed but they're focussing on negotiations with other parties to try and get them safety out of the province.

"We have a dialogue committee, we have a chairman of that dialogue committee, we're just waiting for him to come back and tell us how much they have discussed with Noah Musingku and other people concerned regarding the former Fijian soldiers, but Noah Musingku - we can't establish contact with him."

Ratu Isoa Tikoca