PEACE MONITORS THREATENED ON BOUGAINVILLE

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (March 28, 2000 - Radio New Zealand International)---A group of men threatened members of the International Peace Monitoring team while driving in their vehicles on Bougainville.

A Vanuatu member of the team said the nine peace monitors were in Tava Tava, about six miles outside the main town of Arawa, when men with axes and knives attacked their vehicles last week.

The monitor, who declined to give his name, said the attackers then sped away to avoid further confrontation.

The attackers are believed to be members of the pro-independence rebels loyal to secessionist leader Francis Ona.

The attackers reportedly told the monitors they would be killed if they returned to the area.

Before driving the route, the monitors said they were assured by intelligence reports that it would be safe to drive in the area.

A monitor command spokesman said the incident is being investigated.

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