19 May 2005

Roadblock hampers polling preparations on PNG island of Bougainville

4:08 pm on 19 May 2005

The formation of another road block by ex-combatants in south Bougainville is causing further frustrations ahead of the Papua New Guinea province's elections due to start tomorrow.

The latest road block, in the Konnou district near Buin, has been set up by former separatist fighters linked to Thomas Tari - the former BRA commander who was expected yesterday to hand over dozens of guns ear marked for disposal by the UN.

But earlier this week those guns were stolen from a container in south Bougainville.

It is the latest in a series of road blocks in the south of the main island and our correspondent, Gorethy Kenneth, says it will pose problems for voters.

"They will have to cross the road block to go and vote. Konnou constituency is one of the biggest in the province with about eight thousand eligible voters. It will definitely cause concerns for people who want to go and vote for their leaders."

The election manager, Mathias Pihei, is now considering whether he needs to airlift ballot boxes into the district affected by the road block.