28 Feb 2006

Former Bougainville resistance leader Hilary Masiria dies

2:50 pm on 28 February 2006

The president of the Bougainville autonomous government in Papua New Guinea, Joseph Kabui, says the death of Hilary Masiria is an unexpected loss to the leadership of Bougainvilleans.

The former chairman of the Bougainville Resistance Force and former police minister in the interim provincial government was electrocuted at his home on Saturday, reportedly while fixing his television.

Mr Kabui says Mr Masiria's contribution to Bougainville's peace process is immeasurable.

"It certainly was a very expensive loss for Bougainville, particularly the leadership amongst the former combatants. Two of the prominent leaders amongst the former combatants that had helped to build bridges of trust and confidence and removing all suspicion."

The Bougainville Executive Council has approved over 8,000 US dollars to cover funeral expenses for the late leader and directed that Bougainville flags would be flown at half mast until his body is laid to rest.