15 Nov 2005

Fijian mercenaries in Papua New Guinea linked to coup military unit

9:35 am on 15 November 2005

The group of Fijian mercenaries reported to be providing arms training on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville has been linked the unit which carried out the May 2000 Fiji coup.

The Fiji Sun reports that the men are employed by a company with close links to the Ronin High Risk Security Company headed by the leader of the Fiji coup gunmen, Ilisoni Ligairi.

Mr Ligairi, a former soldier in the British SAS, set up the Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit, which was disbanded after the 2000 Fiji coup and army mutinies.

PNG's high commissioner in Suva, Peter Eafeare, has confirmed that the Fijian mercenaries are involved with Bougainville rebels.

The Fijians have reportedly been hired by a supporter of the late Bougainville rebel leader, Francis Ona.

Mr Ona's supporter, Noah Musingku, who ran a failed pyramid scheme promising quick money, visited Fiji where he reportedly lured Pentecostal Churches to invest in his scheme before recruiting the former soldiers as mercenaries.

Recent reports have suggested that Mr Musingku may be under pressure from frustrated investors in his scheme.

A newspaper report from Port Moresby says the Fijians are training youth to boost security for Tonu airfield where, investors have been promised, a plane will fly in funds for a mass payout.