3 Aug 2005

PNG police not probing Ona's death

7:41 pm on 3 August 2005

Police in the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville say they have not started an investigation into the death of the former rebel leader, Francis Ona.

This comes despite reports that relatives wanted an investigation launched into his death last month.

Reports last week said Mr Ona died of malaria, but this hasn't been confirmed because access to his village has been restricted.

Bougainville's Police Commander, Joseph Bemu, says at this stage he has not been officially asked to start an investigation.

"I want to treat them as rumours. Until such time I get some political direction or relatives are wanting me to investigate, than I can't comment further. I don't know who is talking to who at this stage, but certainly nothing to the police."

Bougainville Police Commander, Joseph Bemu.