14 Feb 2005

School occupation in Bougainville ends with youths arrested for looting and attempted arson

8:03 pm on 14 February 2005

A two week stand off which has kept students away from a Bougainville High School ended at the weekend with the arrest of 22 youths.

They had allegedly stolen equipment including computers and had tried to burn down part of Hutjena High School, which had just undergone a multi million kina restoration paid for by the EU.

The youths had claimed they are owed money for guarding the facility during the civil war.

Bougainville's senior police chief, Joseph Bemu, says the youths were unhappy with the way negotiations to try to end their occuption had gone, prompting them to loot the school.

He says police are staying at the school in the meantime.

"We are maintaining our presence at the school for the reason that the teachers have left the school and we are looking after the school properties until the school is back to normal."



Bougainville's police commander, Joseph Bemu, who says further arrests are expected.