29 Mar 2005

Concerns in Bougainville at impact on election of rallies by rebel leader Francis Ona

5:38 pm on 29 March 2005

The administrator on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville says he is very concerned that the rallies by rebel leader Francis Ona may undermine the peace process.

Mr Ona and several hundred supporters staged a rally in Buka today calling for Australian police and the PNG Government to leave the province.

He has reiterated earlier statements that the island already has its independence and rejecting the forthcoming poll for an autonomous government.

It's the second time in a week that Mr Ona has appeared in public after spending 16 years in the so called No Go Zone and avoiding any involvement in the peace process.

The administrator, Peter Tsiamalili, says such rallies should not be allowed because of the sensitivity of the situation and the need to ensure peace and harmony on Bougainville.

"and we are also going through a very critical period of preparing the elections and the last thing we want is to confuse people about what is happening and so forth, and I think it is already starting to emerge in Buka and now there is a lot of confusion about whether autonomy is the way to go or whether what Francis is saying is what should be supported."