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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Nov. 15) – Eight Fiji nationals allegedly training militia how to use high-powered weapons on an island in Papua New Guinea have sparked an international embarrassment for Fiji and pleas for them to return home.

Fiji's high commissioner in Port Moresby, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said the men have been identified and their names sent to Fiji. Ratu Inoke said he had to assure Bougainville president Joseph Kabui that the eight were no longer members of the Fiji Military Forces and that the Fiji government did not support their activities.

The so-called mercenaries were allegedly training youths on Bougainville how to use high-powered weapons - an action that has worried the new autonomous regional government on the island's no-go zone.

Followers of the late Bougainville separatist leader, Francis Ona, occupy the No-go-zone. A supporter of Ona, Noah Musingku, who ran a failed pyramid scheme that scammed many islanders, allegedly hired the Fijians.

Ratu Inoke said Fiji was embarrassed and upset with their alleged activities.

"It has brought disrepute to all the good work done in the past by our Fijian missionaries and soldiers who served in peace building and monitoring process on Bougainville," he said.

He said the High Commission was working closely with the PNG Government, police and Air Niugini in monitoring their activities.

He said a fax was sent last week through a contact in Buka to be delivered to the men in Siwai asking them to contact the High Commission.

"We would like to plead with them to return to Fiji," he said.

Kabui and PNG's Inter-government Relations Minister Peter Barter expressed concern about the activities of Musingku and other involved in the U-Vistract fast money scheme, which has drawn millions of Kina in investments from Bougainvillean villagers.

The eight Fijians entered Bougainville this month to give arms training to youths recruited from schools around Tonu in the Siwai district.

Classes at two schools in Tonu have been suspended because of tensions caused by the mercenaries.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Fiji Times: http://www.fijitimes.com/

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