21 Feb 2007

Four Fiji mercenaries held by Bougainville police

9:12 am on 21 February 2007

Four of the five former Fijian soldiers working as mercenaries in Bougainville for more than a year are reported to be in police custody in Buka.

The Fiji Times reports that this has been confirmed by their sister newspaper in Papua New Guinea, the Post Courier.

It says the four arrived at Buka late on Monday night and are being questioned by officers of the police Criminal Investigation Department for information.

Last week, the five Fijian soldiers in Bougainville were reported to be in hiding because a reward was offered for their capture dead or alive.

Their former employer, the self-styled King Noah Musingku, had alleged that the Autonomous Bougainville Government had offered 1-point-7 million US dollars for the kidnapping and killing of the Fijians.

The Bougainville police minister later denied the allegation.

Fiji high commission officials in Port Moresby have travelled to Buka to facilitate the return of the four soldiers back to Fiji.