17 Mar 2006

Bougainville leader urges consulation over Fiji ex-military men on island

5:09 pm on 17 March 2006

Bougainville's president in Papua New Guinea warns there could be dire consequences if the province continues to be left out of discussions surrounding security on the island.

Joseph Kabui made the comment following recommendations that a special committee be formed to look at the presence of former Fiji soldiers in the Papua New Guinea province.

Foreign Ministers from the Melanesian Spearhead Group held a summit in Vanuatu yesterday and recommended a security subcommittee be set up to address the ongoing problem.

The Fiji men have been in a rebel-held no go zone, reportedly providing security for a wanted PNG money scheme operator, Noah Musingku.

Mr Kabui says if Bougainville continues to be sidelined there could be consequences.

"The consequences of mishandling is back to war again and we don't want a similar thing on Bougainville. That's the last thing we want on Bougainville. Nobody wants a war on Bougainville."

He says he does not want to see any armed intervention or external force sent to Bougainville, but believes a UN team could be sent in.