4 Oct 2005

Bougainville Government might apply its own blockade to force the removal of illegal roadblocks

6:16 pm on 4 October 2005

The Autonomous Government in the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville is promising to get tough with rebels maintaining roadblocks.

It says if there is no progress it might start applying its own pressure such as cutting government services.

Don Wiseman has more...

"Members of the Me'ekamui movement have had several road blocks in place for some time, hampering access to parts of south and central Bougainville."

The President, Joseph Kabui, says his government is using chiefs, MPs, local radio and officials, to try and persuade the rebels to abandon the barriers.

He says they are taking the message that the road blocks achieve nothing and deprive people of important services like health and education.

Mr Kabui says they are getting a good response - one road block, at Morgan Junction, is not as rigidly applied as before.

He says, though, if the roadblocks have not disappeared by the end of the year, tougher measures will be used.

Mr Kabui says they will want to keep to the peaceful approach but might deny all government services to the regions behind the blockades.

He says the hope is that this would spark a people power movement which would force the rebels to remove the barriers.