16 Nov 2005

Claim Fiji men on Bougainville try to undermine PNG province's government

3:00 pm on 16 November 2005

The police minister in the government of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea says there may be grounds to lay treason charges against nine Fiji nationals accused of training rebels in the province.

Ezekiel Massat says the Fiji men are wanted for questioning for breaches of immigration rules and for carrying out subversive activities.

"I for one think that there are grounds to look at very serious charges of sedition and treason. I'm of the opinion that there's been an attempt to undermine the existence of the autonomous Bougainville government."

Mr Massat says police won't have to resort to force to bring the Fiji men to justice.

Armed forces won't be sent in because that would violate the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

The minister says the regional intervention force in Solomon Islands has been told to be on the watch in case the men try to leave Bougainville to the south.