9 Feb 2005

Police intervention fails to resolve Bougainville occupation

4:53 pm on 9 February 2005

Police intervention has failed to end the occupation of a school by youths on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville.

Hutjena School in Buka is being occupied by the Hutjena Home Guard, which wants 327,000 US dollars from the provincial government for guarding property during the civil war seven years ago.

The government has paid the group 32,700 dollars but says its coffers are empty.

It says it will hold talks with the youths if they end their occupation.

But Elly Sawa, the press secretary for Governor John Momis, says a meeting between police and the youth group has failed to persuade them to go.

"Well, the police have gone, they've talked to the youths to .... but still there's no response, positive response, they're still occupying the school, so we are going to hold meetings now, today and tomorrow, with the police hierarchy, and see what we could do."

Elly Sawa.