11 May 2006

Scam operator to blame for violence on Bougainville - Vice President

8:10 pm on 11 May 2006

The vice president of the autonomous government of Bougainville says shots fired at police in the Papua New Guinea province should not be blamed on the Me'ekamui rebel movement.

15 members of the Me'ekamui force, allegedly linked to U-Vistract scam operator Noah Musingku, fired at police manning a checkpoint in southern Bougainville.

Joseph Watawi says two former Fijian soldiers were among the 15 men..

The two Fijians are part of a group of five who have been providing Mr Musingku's men with military training.

Mr Watawi says it would be unfair to blame the Me'ekamui movement for the clash.

"It's really not the Me'ekamui faction, but this faction is basically factions from the Papala kingdom, that's the U-Vistract people and I do not think it is anything to do with the Me'ekamui."

Mr Watawi has asked the Fiji Embassy to try to get the ex-soldiers to return home because they are now affecting the stability of the province.