22 Nov 2005

Police in Fiji and PNG monitoring alleged mercenaries

4:30 pm on 22 November 2005

Police in Fiji are working closely with the authorities in Papua New Guinea to monitor reports of the eight Fiji men alleged to be working as mercenaries in Bougainville

PNG's High Commissioner to Fiji, Peter Eafeare, told Fiji Live the eight men are part of an advanced guard of 300 who have been recruited to overthrow the new autonomous government on Bougainville.

Fiji Live reports the men are allegedly led by Ilisoni Ligairi, who runs the Ronin High Risk Security company after serving his jail term as the leader of the gunmen who overthrew the Chaudhry government in 2000.

Mr Ligairi has denied any role in the Bougainville crisis.

Fiji's Police Commissioner, Andrew Hughes, says police in both countries are watching closely

"The communication has come through our foreign affairs liaison. We are discussing through our special branch with their counterparts, as to what occurring on the ground. But its difficult for us to accurately gauge the nature of the activities that these people are involved in at the present time."

Fiji Police Commissioner Andrew Hughes says he's been led to believe the eight men are in Bougainville to provide security for an individual.