17 May 2006

Reports from Bougainville say Musingku abandoned by men

8:23 pm on 17 May 2006

Boungainville's self-proclaimed king Noah Musingku has reportedly been deserted by his soldiers following last week's exchange of gunfire and the burning of police property in the Papua New Guinea province.

Buka police station commander Sergeant Oscar Tugen says Musingku's men have abandoned him, returning to their villages and finding ways to escape arrest by police.

Sgt Tugen says this was because they have realised Musingku was lying to them.

The Post Courier reports the sergeant confirmed the guns used in last week's attack were all high-powered rifles belonging to Musingku.

He says most of the men did not know what they were doing in Siwai and carried out the attack because they were instructed by Musingku to do so

Sgt Tugen says they believe Musingku is the main supplier of firearms and also that he is the key to smuggling weapons across the PNG-Solomon Islands border.

Sgt Tugen has also appealed to the remaining five Fijians and the rest of Musingku's faction to surrender.

Meanwhile, former Bougainville Resistance Force members have demanded authorities address the U-Vistract problems on Tonu before ex-combatants take the law into their own hands.

Paramount chief in Wakunai Paul Akoitai says they are ready to handle the situation, even if it meant using weapons.