8 Feb 2005

Bougainville school remains closed as occupation continues

9:15 pm on 8 February 2005

A school on Bougainville remains closed after being occupied by a group protesting that it has not been paid for services it provided to the provincial administration during the island's civil war.

The group has kept around 600 Hutjena High School students out of the school since the beginning of last week.

It has also occupied several teachers' houses.

The Post Courier reports that the provincial administration has said it has no money available to meet their demands, but is prepared to negotiate if the group returns the school keys and vacates the buildings.

Hutjena School has just undergone an upgrade, courtesy of the European Union.

The EU's representative in PNG, Anthony Crasner, says reports they have indicate the refurbishments, which include a dormitory, have not been damaged in the occupation.