15 May 2006

PNG sends police reinforcements to Bougainville following clashes

1:06 pm on 15 May 2006

Police reinforcements are being sent to the Papua New Guinea autonomous province of Bougainville following last week's clash between police and armed men in the south.

The PNG National Broadcasting Corporation reports that the Autonomous Bougainville Government has also engaged a team of ex-combatants with arms to flush out illegal money scheme operator, Noah Musingku and his men.

A police officer was injured in the clash, a police post was burnt down at Panakei, an administration office was looted, and a female public servant was also kidnapped in the incidents which occurred in the Buin and Siwai areas.

Police believe two ex-Fijian soldiers, working for Mr Musingku, were involved in the clashes.

PNG's Police Commissioner, Sam Inguba says several men have been arrested and are now in police custody, awaiting court appearances.

Mr Inguba says the police assistance follows a meeting with the Minister for Bougainville Affairs, Sir Peter Barter and Bougainville Police Minister, Ezekiel Massatt in Port Moresby.

Meanwhile the Me'ekamui leader, Raymond Hakena, says the burning down of police houses in Tonu are purely the activities of the Musingku people, not Me'ekamui.

Mr Hakena has urged police to make sure they do not trigger instability in the way they deal with the problem.