9 Nov 2006

Bougainville's Buka quieter after militant leader fined on gun charge and freed from custody

7:01 pm on 9 November 2006

Tensions in Buka, the main town in the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville, have dissipated with the release from jail of Chris Uma, the commander of the militant group, the Me'ekamui.

Mr Uma was arrested on the weekend on gun possession charges but his followers had been pressing the police and the autonomous Bougainville government for his release.

He appeared in court yesterday and was fined for the gun offence.

The ABG's police minister, Ezekiel Masatt, says Mr Uma was fined two thousand kina, or 668 US dollars, and he was released as soon as the fine was paid.