PNG MINISTER SEEKS TO BROKER PEACE IN BOUGAINVILLE

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post Courier, May 23) – Bougainville police are not pleased after intercepting a letter from Papua New Guinea Mining Minister Sam Akoitai’s office indicating that Mr. Akoitai intends to broker peace between the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the U-Vistract faction.

Police confirmed intercepting the two-page letter, dated May 19 and signed by Mr. Akoitai’s first secretary Nason Moat, last Friday. The letter stated that Noah Musingku, principal of failed fast money scheme U-Vistract, has made contact with Mr Akoitai, seeking his presence in Tonu to negotiate a peaceful settlement between the Autonomous Bougainville Government and Musingku’s factions after the recent burning down of the police station in Siwai.

The letter stated that Mr. Akoitai had decided to broker peace over the tension that has the potential of giving rise to another crisis.

Police in the region questioned why they were not included in the distribution list and had not received a copy of the letter. Police headquarters in Port Moresby were also not included. They also questioned why the Autonomous Bougainville Government was not included in the distribution list, which includes Minister responsible for Bougainville Affairs, the Chief Secretary, the Bougainville Administrator, Mining Secretary, National Security Director and Director BPRO.

The letter stated that it was of prime importance to acknowledge peace on Bougainville and the visit by Mr. Akoitai will enable people to understand Musingku’s dealings.

The letter also called for the extraction of the five Fijians who will have to be taken to Port Moresby to face charges. However, Bougainville police and the Autonomous Bougainville Government did not welcome the idea of getting the Fijians out of the region after seeing others given "easy passage" out without being charged in Port Moresby.

Authorities in Bougainville confirmed they will be dealing with the five Fijians in the region if they surrender and Musingku would be no exception. They promised to make the government’s presence felt by dealing with them in Buka, even if it means charging them and locking them up in cells, adding that no one will by pass their authority on the ground.

[PIR editor’s note: Buka is an island just off the northwest tip of Bougainville.]

The letter stated that it was important to establish the ground situation before any move was taken to apprehend Musingku, which would be made easier with the removal of the Fijians.

Mr. Akoitai’s first secretary stated in the letter that consultations with various stakeholders will be made before the minister takes the trip. Consultations between the Minister responsible for Bougainville Affairs Sir Peter Barter and the Autonomous Bougainville Government are expected in Buka.

May 23, 2006

PNG Post Courier Online: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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