30 Mar 2005

Bougainville leaders to meet amid anger at Ona stance on PNG island

7:36 pm on 30 March 2005

Leaders in the Bougainville town of Buka in Papua New Guinea are to meet amid growing anger at the behaviour of the formerly reclusive rebel leader, Francis Ona, in two rallies in the past week.

Mr Ona staged a rally in Buka on Tuesday, 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, declared it was already independent and ruled by his Mekamui government.

The Governor, John Momis, says the feedback they are getting is that the people are very angry and do not want the election process to be affected by Mr Ona's statements.

He says Buka leaders will meet over the matter.

"And they are telling the ringleaders in Buka, in no uncertain terms, that should elections fail, they must accept responsibility and accept the consequences because the people are not going to let anyone disrupt the elections."

John Momis