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Rebel leader says government promises not met

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 9, 2011) - One of Bougainville’s notorious Me’ekamui rebel hardliners has declared war on his own Autonomous Government leaders with a bitter feeling towards the empty promises made to them.

Damien Koike had launched an operation code named "Operation Leader out" in their base in Lukauko village, south Bougainville. When asked why he was doing that, he said that was to counter the empty promises of the ABG, but could not further speak on the matter.

Bougainville’s top cop ACP Thomas Eluh confirmed the operation was launched but could not elaborate on the issue. And Police Station Command in Buin said the ABG should now take an immediate step to address the issue because it has now become political to address.

The United Nations and the Churches are also aware of this operation but could not fully comment on the latter.

But Moongai home guards said that villagers in Wisai received a threatening phone call from their VSAT from one of the criminal element members saying their now well equipped and ready to move and execute the operation in Konnou constituency and in South Bougainville. Wisai Liberation Movement (WILMO) commander Philip Pusua confirmed the report to the Post Courier last week.

But Me’ekamui Defence Force Commander Chris Uma when contacted told the Post Courier he was the original Me’ekamui and chief and the actions by Koike were not supported by him and his soldiers. Moses Pipiro’s hardline executives in Panguna also said that Koike was doing this alone, not with their support and advised they will travel to Buin this week to try and sort the problem out. Late last week, the Post-Courier received a report from four other armed factions in Buin claiming they were ready to combat and counter the operation. They claimed they were fed up of the actions by Koike and his men.

Reports detailed the person who issued the threat was one of those who allegedly fired upon civilians over the Easter weekend instantly killing one of them.

"Now the ABG leadership is under threat from these criminals, and the only way now is law and order needs to take its course, these people need to be arrested and face the full force of the law now before it’s too late…these are mere criminals taking the Law into their own hands as if their kings of this land. "We find it hard to abide by the peace agreement because if we do and we will surely die at the hands of these criminals because we have taken up arms to protect ourselves and our people in the Konnou constituency."

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