BOUGAINVILLE PRESIDENT ORDERS SHIPPING COMPANY OUT

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 22) - Autonomous Bougainville Government President Joseph Kabui this week used his "people power’’ and ordered an overseas company serving in Bougainville to pack up and leave.

Mr. Kabui served the notice on Australian security group HK Shipping and Hevilift Limited to leave Bougainville by the end of this month.

"I am exercising the power of the people of Bougainville. The power bestowed on me as I am the mandated leader voted in by the majority of the people to be their leader. Whatever decision I make, I know it’s in the best interest of my people," Kabui said. "Bougainvilleans or non-Bougainvilleans must not play around with my office as this is a very powerful office; more powerful than that of the PNG prime minister as he was voted into office by parties. Our office is the same as that of America -- voted in by people. My decision is to show the world that any guests in our place must not fool around with the region's highest office."

The president’s statement came after HK Shipping and Hevilift Limited had turned down the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the National Government’s instructions to go to Siwai and evacuate the five Fijians.

"It was clear that HK Shipping and Hevilift are not here for Bougainville because they would not assist us with this matter which is of such a high priority for both PNG and Bougainville internal security and international relations," Kabui said. Kabui told the HK Shipping and Hevilift management he was ordering them out of the region as a result of the "organization’s lack of interest in the Fijian issue."

The HK Shipping came to Bougainville to provide the logistical support to the then Australian Federal Police involvement in the defunct Enhance Co-corporation Program. According to sources HK Shipping still remains on the island even after AFP were ordered out after a successful court case by Morobe Governor Luther Wenge.

They claimed to be looking after some of AFP’s assets.

"You are ordered to pack up all assets of the AFP, whatever is left and leave Bougainville by the end of this month," Kabui ordered.

"The Fijian issue is a key issue to the State of PNG and the ABG, and your lack of interest in assisting both governments with a helicopter showed only one thing and that is that your organization is not here because of Bougainville. Hence Bougainville does not need your organization."

Kabui has ordered Bougainville police Chief Joseph Bemu to supervise the smooth departure of HK Shipping Company and Hevilift out of their Buin, Arawa and Buka premises by the March 8.

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