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Bougainville Calls For Mercenaries End

Bougainville Calls For Mercenaries End
http://www.theage.com.au/notebn/aap.html

PORT MORESBY (The Age/AAP/Pacific Media Watch): Bougainville's president has called on the PNG and Fiji governments to stop Fijian mercenaries coming to the troubled island.

Five former Fijian soldiers have been training a security force for notorious conman Noah Musingku in a rebel-held zone in the south of the Papua New Guinea autonomous region.

President Joseph Kabui said another 100 Fijians were rumoured to be heading for the island.

"If only the (PNG) government and the Fijian government would do something about it, it would prevent these people from setting foot on Bougainville," Kabui told ABC TV.

"If only that had taken place, I think the sort of troubles that we are going through, well, we wouldn't be going through it now.

"There are stories, or rumours, that there are over 100 that plan to come.

"The Fijian government and the (PNG) government ... the autonomous Bougainville government is calling upon them not to allow these people to come to Bougainville."

Musingku, who is wanted by authorities in relation to a failed pyramid investment scheme, has installed himself as king of his region and surrounded himself with followers.

But Kabui said the followers were mostly "young kids" who did not pose a serious threat to authorities.

"Over 95 per cent of the real fighting men (in other rebel groups) are with us in the peace process," he said.

"One common denominator on the autonomous Bougainville government side, and also on the (rebel side), is this: nobody wants to see Bougainville go back to another war.

"We've had our fight, we've destroyed ourselves and this is why the dialogue through peaceful means is the approach that we are applying."

Kabui said his government was attempting to reach negotiations with Musingku.

"If something goes out of hand, we have the confidence that if arms (are) picked up, I believe we have all the capability on our part to handle the situation," he said.

"We have been mandated by people right throughout Bougainville, which is why we believe we have the authority with us."

© 2006 AAP

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