16 Feb 2005

Administrator on PNG island of Bougainville hopes classes can restart at troubled school

10:31 am on 16 February 2005

The administrator on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville Peter Tsiamalili, says he hopes a school at the centre of a 15-day occupation can now begin classes for the year on Monday.

A youthful militant group, calling itself the Hangan Home Guard, was demanding money from the administration and had refused to leave the school until its demands were met.

At the weekend the group looted the buildings, and had a violent confrontation with police, who Mr Tsiamalili says were forced to fire warning shots at the youths.

The group had also allegedly tried to burn down part of the school.

Mr Tsiamalili says the situation is now back to normal and the Hangan Home Guard have made a commitment on three issues.

"...that they will never again enter the school, and they will also surrender all the equipments and computers that have gone to the school, and thirdly that all the claims will have to be dealt with through the normal process."