27 Jun 2011

Former Bougainville combatants to try and ease tension with violent factions

7:05 am on 27 June 2011

The government in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville wants ex-combatants to try and rein in renegade groups blamed for growing lawlessness in the south of the main island.

Violence, including a number of murders, around Konnou, have been attributed to factions led by Damien Koike and Paul Ihrah.

The Post Courier newspaper's Bougainville correspondent, Gorethy Kenneth, says Damien Koike feels he's been shut out of the development process and the ex-combatants will aim to heal the rift.

"Basically what they are going to do is see if they can negotiate, just sit down and listen to Koike or listen to Paul Ihrah [about] what they want and then come back to the ABG. Basically a fact finding mission to find out what they really really want and if they can help in some ways."

The ABG president John Momis has said international peacekeepers could be brought back because the lawlessness threatens to undermine the planned vote on independence due after 2015.