12 May 2005

Bougainville police head ponders No Go Zone election access

4:23 pm on 12 May 2005

The head of police in the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville, Joseph Bemu, says he still does not know if his officers will be granted access to the No Go Zone to monitor elections starting next week.

In a surprise development last month, residents in the region held by the rebel Mekamui movement, which has already claimed independence, enrolled to vote and put forward some candidates.

Police have yet to enter the No Go Zone, and Assistant Commissioner Bemu says they will leave the decision on whether to go in when polling starts to officials in the area.

"If their advise is not for us to go in, we will not go into the polling area. But we are trying to fit everybody, whether they are in the No Go Zone according to the polling schedule provided by the Electoral Commission. But if we are not allowed to go we will respect that."

Assistant Police Commissioner Joseph Bemu on Bougainville.