BOUGAINVILLE TRUCE MONITORS DENY REBELS ARE REARMING

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (December 31, 1997 - Radio Australia)--- The multi-nation Truce Monitoring Group on the secessionist Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville says there is no evidence to back allegations that rebels are using the truce to smuggle arms onto the island.

The allegation was made by Papua New Guinea Defense Force commander Brigadier General Leo Nuia, who said weapons were being smuggled into the island's southwest region, near the Solomon Islands.

A spokesman for the New Zealand Defense Force, which heads the Truce Monitoring Group, says the team has not uncovered any evidence of arms smuggling.

The charges also have been denied by Bougainville Revolutionary Army spokesman Moses Havini.

Troops and civilians from Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Vanuatu are collaborating in monitoring the Fiji truce, which was signed in New Zealand last October.

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