1 Apr 2005

PNG's Kabui says former Bougainville fighters committed to polls

1:30 pm on 1 April 2005

The President of the Bougainville People's Congress, Joseph Kabui, says the former combatants in the Papua New Guinea island's No Go Zone have formally committed to next month's election.

He says the former militants met this week and have concluded nothing should get in the way of the poll.

They met as the rebel leader Francis Ona, who has long claimed control of the zone, held a protest rally in Buka, rejecting the autonomy process and threatening to disrupt the election.

Mr Kabui says Mr Ona has planted confusion but doesn't have significant support, while there is wide backing for the election throughout the province, including in the No Go Zone.

"Judging from the very successful updating of the common rolls, even in the No Go Zone, that tells a lot of a story. People all over, even in the No Go Zone, are very willing to participate in the elections."

Joseph Kabui