13 May 2006

Bougainville government to engage ex-combatants

9:51 am on 13 May 2006

Former combatants of the secessionist conflict in the Papua New Guinean province of Bougainville are ready to assist police after officers were shot at by armed men working for conman Noah Musingku.

A policeman was seriously injured after being stabbed, a female government employee was abducted, and three police houses were torched.

Police says, around 16 members of an armed group opened fire on police after their vehicle was stopped at a road block in the Siwai district.

Police say they returned fire but no-one was injured in the exchange.

The President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, Joseph Kabui, told AAP that the province has decided to take precautionary measures in the Siwai district by ensuring police were armed and backed by former combatants.

Seen among Musingku's men were two former Fijian soldiers hired to train the self-proclaimed king's security force and have ignored requests to leave.

Bougainville's Police Minister and acting police chief flew to Port Moresby yesterday for urgent talks with Papua New Guinea's Police.