16 Dec 2004

Reports of split within Ona group on PNG's Bougainville island

4:22 pm on 16 December 2004

The Governor of the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville says a serious split within the Mekamui movement headed by separatist leader Francis Ona could end in the dismantling of the decade-old No Go Zone.

Mr Ona has had a serious falling out with his Mekamui Defence Force Commander, Moses Pipiro, and another of his close allies, pyramid scheme operator Noah Musingku, who is also now rumoured to have been the victim of an attack in Siwai.

The state of the zone is such a sensitive issue on Bougainville that authorities will not discuss these developments on the record.

But the Bougainville Governor, John Momis, says there are big implications for the No Go Zone.

"Well, I have been informed that there is a serious gulf or split between Moses Pipiro and Mr Francis Ona. Question: What do you think the implications of that split might be for the No Go zone? Answer: Well I think the No Go Zone is probably facing a serious threat. The No Go Zone structure is facing a serious threat of being dismantled."

The Bougainville Governor, John Momis.