24 Nov 2005

Fiji labour minister welcomes jobs in Bougainville

4:32 pm on 24 November 2005

The Fiji Labour minister, Kenneth Zinck, is reportedly welcoming the possibility of more Fiji men heading for the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville for controversial security work.

More than 30 former soldiers are reported to be preparing to join 8 colleagues helping train the forces of a wanted man and self-proclaimed king, Noah Musingku.

Mr Zinck says while he would be concerned if the men have been hired as mercenaries, the recruitment is good for Fiji's unemployment rate.

But the opposition deputy leader Poseci Bune says the connection between the Bougainville group and former coup plotters, through the Ronin High Risk Security Company could be sinister.

Mr Bune says each man is reportedly being paid a million US dollars and is equipped with better weaponry than the Fiji security forces possess.

A Fiji diplomat based in Port Moresby has been in Bougainville but was unable to get in touch with the Fiji men.

Emosi Rakai says they were given orders not to speak to him.