5 Jul 2005

Bougainville journalist gets a rare interview with rebel leader, Francis Ona

8:54 pm on 5 July 2005

The rebel Me'ekamui movement in the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville claims it is training more than 1000 youths as police to help restore law and order.

Francis Ona, the man who orchestrated the Bougainville crisis in 1989, told the Post-Courier newspaper that the main aim is to discipline youths, provide safety and maintain law and order.

The Post-Courier's Gorethy Kenneth visited the reclusive Mr Ona at his Guava village in Central Bougainville.

"There were actually about 63 policemen, young boys, from all over Bougainville -south, central and north Bougainville. Most of them were from north Bougainville. There had just graduated from a one week long course in police training."

Mr Ona claimed his police are making an impact by reducing the use of home brew.

The rebel leader also said he had enough gold from panning in the rivers to run the Bougainville administration.

He told Ms Kenneth that his Me'ekamui people are a sovereign people and are going forward fast.