26 Jul 2005

Funeral of Bougainville secessionist Ona expected to be Thursday

8:40 am on 26 July 2005

The funeral of the rebel leader in the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville, Francis Ona, is expected to take place on Thursday in Guava village near Panguna Mine.

Mr Ona died suddenly from malaria and typhoid at the weekend.

Our correspondent Peter Niesi says there's discussion over whether to also hold memorial services for the Mekamui Leader in Arawa and in the provincial capital, Buka, on Friday.

Peter Niesi says the burial arrangements require careful consideration, given Mr Ona's status.

"...who is a leader in his own right whatever his stance has been. Most leaders want to see he's given the respect that's due a man of his stature, due to the lead he commanded."

Peter Niesi says there's been widespread shock over Mr Ona's passing, and many leaders have expressed their condolences.