10 Feb 2006

Rebel youths on Bougainville abandon road blocks and go back to school

2:39 pm on 10 February 2006

The New Zealand High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea says he is very optimistic about a scheme to fund the education of 12 young men who have previously spent their days manning roadblocks in the rebel Me'ekamui controlled area of south Bougainville.

The youths will attend vocational and technical colleges in East and West New Britain.

New Zealand's representative in PNG, Laurie Markes, says he has high hopes for the scheme.

"What is encouraging is that in part this was the boys' own initiative."

They, themselves, had come to the conclusion that they wanted to better themselves and abandon their former way of life and they made the initial approach to the police, supported by the village elders.

New Zealand's representative in PNG, Laurie Markes.