17 May 2006

Police in Papua New Guinea continue to monitor situation on Bougainville

1:04 pm on 17 May 2006

Police in Papua New Guinea say the possibility of sending reinforcements to the autonomous province of Bougainville remains an option in the wake of clashes with a militant group.

PNG police confirm that they have had talks with the Bougainville government over whether to send police from Port Moresby to help contain the militant group led by a failed money scam operator, Noah Musingku.

Media reports from PNG say that police in Arawa are scaling up operations after the group threatened to destroy their station following the arrest of one of their colleagues.

It is believed that Musingku's supporters include two former Fijian soldiers who have been sighted travelling up to Buin for dialogue with Me'ekamui rebels.

Sara Vui Talitu reports

"The Bougainville Police Minister met with PNG police officials this week to discuss sending reinforcements to Bougainville. This follows police on Bougainville being shot at and buildings being torched by Musingku and a group of his supporters. PNG police say while they remain confident in the ability of the local police force to contain the situation, it is being closely monitored. The police source says they are mindful of maintaining the fragile peace process on Bougainville but if necessary, reinforcements remain an option."

Sara Vui Talitu