12 May 2005

Former resistance members threaten to disrupt Bougainville elections

10:19 am on 12 May 2005

Business operators in the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville say a threat to disrupt the elections next week is a scandal.

Former personnel in the resistance, who assisted the PNG Defence Force during the crisis, want the National Government to pay what they say was a promised payout of more than 3-milllion US dollars before the polls start next Thursday.

Don Wiseman reports.

"Business leader and former resistance commander Thomas Raban says it's vital that the unity that effected the peace process is not broken now at a critical moment. He says his personal view is that they're not entitled to the money, that they have already received compensation which he himself helped negotiate. And he says there are many groups deserving of compensation for the role they played in bringing about peace but they are not looking for payment. Mr Raban says if the resistance members wish to pursue the payments they should wait until the autonomous government is elected and then raise it with them. The police commander, Joseph Bemu, says the threat to disrupt the poll is the main concern he faces as the election approaches."