15 May 2006

Bougainville says reports of outside police help after shooting are wrong

8:17 pm on 15 May 2006

The Autonomous Government of Bougainville says reports that it's calling in police from outside the Papua New Guinea province, after a clash with rebels, are incorrect.

But it confirms it's employing former militants as special constables.

This follows an attack on police last week in south Bougainville, where they were shot at by supporters of the notorious money scam operator, Noah Musingku.

Don Wiseman has more.

"The acting police commander at Buka, Oscar Tugen, says his officers retaliated and one was hurt, while police houses and offices in Tonu were burned down. He says the situation remains tense, though police have been withdrawn from the area. He says government officials there are staying away from work out of fear. Bougainville's vice president Joseph Watawi says the province is very concerned about the activities of Noah Musginku who more than six months ago recruited former Fijian soldiers to train his private security force. Mr Watawi says they still want to try and talk the Fijians into leaving but are ready to recruit and arm more special constables if needed. Though he says Mr Musingku has little support with most Bougainvilleans sick and tired of him."