5 Jul 2011

Bougainville leader says American group destabilises government

6:39 pm on 5 July 2011

The president of autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville, John Momis, says a shadowy American group, with links to a militant rebel group, is de-stablising his government.

The rebel group calling itself the Me'ekamui Tribal Nation, which refuses to acknowledge the government's legitimacy, reportedly has the backing of the so-called Tall J Foundation.

Mr Momis says he's met the Americans who he understands want to begin extracting alluvial gold in Bougainville.

"I don't know very much about them. All I know is that they're a menace. They are trying to sabotage all our efforts to create unity and a sense of responsibility, to get ourselves prepared for re-opening of the [Panguna] mine. They are more or less carpetbaggers, running around misleading ignorant people."

John Momis.

A spokesperson for the Me'ekamui Tribal Nation says it has no links with the Tall J Foundation.

Last month, the Tribal Nation failed in its attempts to set up a conference at the Hilton Hotel in Cairns to canvas issues it says are hampering a resumption of mining at the huge Panguna site.