25 Nov 2005

Fiji diplomat in PNG's Bougainville to persuade compatriots to leave

10:17 am on 25 November 2005

A Fijian diplomat has gone to the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville hoping to persuade eight former soldiers from his country to leave.

The men have been accused of giving high-powered weapons training to villagers in a rebel-held area in the main island.

The second secretary at Fiji's High Commission in Port Moresby, Emosi Rakai, reportedly wants to enter the zone to meet all eight to persuade them out.

Mr Rakai has been in the province since Tuesday and is said to have broadcast a message on Radio Bougainville urging them to come out.

The Bougainville's police commander Joseph Bemu said Mr Rakai hoped to travel into the no-go zone with members of Meekamui, the movement formed by the late secessionist leader Francis Ona.