30 Mar 2005

Governor of PNG's Bougainville says people oppose Ona calls

3:57 pm on 30 March 2005

The governor of the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville, John Momis, says there is widespread anger at statements made by the formerly reclusive rebel leader, Francis Ona, in two rallies in the past week.

Mr Ona staged a rally in Buka yesterday, a week after a similar one in Arawa.

He called for PNG Government officials and Australian police to leave the island, rejected the island's autonomy status and declared it was already independent and ruled by his Mekamui government.

Mr Momis says the feedback they are getting is that the people are very angry.

And he says the people remain committed to the elections in May for the first autonomous government.

"There is an election fever on right now. People see the election as a stepping stone to autonomy, autonomy is a stepping stone to the time when they will finally decide their political destiny - whether to be independent or autonomous. So I don't think Francis Ona will get too much support."

John Momis