7 Feb 2005

Bougainville leaders likely to dump plan for special constables to be used to end road block

6:01 pm on 7 February 2005

A plan on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville to have special constables replace rebels manning a road block appears unlikely to go ahead.

A faction of the rebel Mekamui group has blocked the road for weeks at Aropa, frustrating police efforts to travel in the southern part of the island.

Assistant Police Commissioner, Joe Bemu, the senior police officer on Bougainville, says the Mekamui faction claim that some of the foreign police on the island could be mercenaries.

Assistant Commissioner Bemu says that's not the case, but one possible solution to their concerns would be to allow special constables to take the place of the rebels at the roadblock.

He has said that this would allow normality to return while the rebels' concerns could be looked at.

But sources on the island say that wiser heads are prevailing and the scheme using special constables is unlikely to get a green light.