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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, March 23) - The Panguna people in Central Bougainville have called on the Me’ekamui faction to remove the Morgan junction roadblock that separates the "No-Go Zone" from the rest of Bougainville.

[PIR editor’s note: Bougainville Island is located in north east Papua New Guinea. Me’ekamui is the rebel government formed by the late separatist leader Francis Ona.]

They also want the Autonomous Bougainville Government, the ex-combatants, and the Me’ekamui faction to sit together and find a solution to resolve the issue of roadblocks.

The people from the copper rich Panguna mine area said the roadblock was the only thing stopping them from receiving basic government services.

Panguna chief Michael Pariu said the issue of the Morgan roadblock was in the hands of those living in the Ioro constituency to initiate a dialogue with the Me’ekamui. He said the Autonomous Bougainville Government could come in later. But he urged those manning the roadblock to seriously consider removing the roadblock so much needed service cold be brought to the area.

Autonomous Bougainville Government Member for Ioro Dr. Benedict Pisi said for 16 years his people had suffered and the roadblock was one of the factors that had prevented basic services reaching the area. "We are admiring the services that the government is providing to the rest of Bougainville and we the people of Panguna also want that in our area," Dr. Pisi said.

Women spokesman Patricia Tapakau said services into Panguna have been long overdue because of the roadblock, which has been blocking government services for the area. "We must now make a stand to see and do what is right for us. If we want services, we must enhance dialogue with those concerned to remove the roadblock," said Tapakau. She said it was unfortunate that people in the area were suffering and those running the roadblock enjoyed the services.

Me’ekamui officials said they will be talking to their superiors about letting government services in and the possibility of removing the roadblock. It is understood that they have given the clearance for Autonomous Bougainville Government officials to visit Panguna and talk to the people, as they themselves want to participate in bringing back services to the area.

March 24, 2006

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier:

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