Bougainville Update - 17/4/96

Sasha Baer sashab at wr.com.au
Wed Apr 17 07:05:13 MDT 1996


Radio Australia 0800z 17/4/96 6020kHz
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The Papua New Guinea military has re-imposed a blockade on the secessionist
island of Bougainville. All ships and aircraft heading for Bougainville will
have to first obtain a military clearance in Rabaul. A Radio Australia
correspondent says a PNG military intelligence officer has outlined the new
restrictions to public servants and private business on Buka Island just to
the north of Bougainville. he says the military has ordered all businesses
to close and banned coco and copra buying as well boarding schools have been
told to send their students home because they will not be allowed to
stockpile food. The PNG military has assumed almost total control over
Bougainville's affairs following the breakdown of peace moves earlier this
year. A military blockade imposed on Bougainville early in the six year
conflict has been blamed for the deaths of thousands of people on the island.

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Radio New Zealand 0800z 17/4/96 6100kHz
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A Solomon Islands Government Delegation has arrived in the troubled border
area near Bougainville to look at situation. Recently there has been has
been several un-confirmed reports of armed people in Bougainville coming
across the sea border in boats at night and raiding Solomon Islands villages
and missions. Solomon Islands Government spokesman Johnson Tulami (phon?)
said it is not easy to determine who is responsible though.

JT: "I don't think it is difficult getting information from, it is
identifying the people who are coming across. It is too difficult to tell
whether it's PNGDF or is it the Resistance or the BRA because as you know we
all look the same and sometimes the Resistance people, they also where the
same uniform as PNGDF and as well the BRA members sometimes, because of the
fight that has been going on in Bougainville, sometimes they acquire, they
get hold of these uniforms the PNGDF and also wear them and come across.
They tend to have the same weapons and all this and they fire them." Johnson
Tulami (phon?).

Still in the Solomons and Solomon Islands Minister for Police and National
Security, Victor Nelly (phon?) has strongly denied the reports quoting him
as saying that some government ministers and back benchers support
independence for Bougainville from Papua New Guinea. My Nelly (phon?) has
said that he has not made any such statement in his official capacity as a
government minister and that whoever wrote the report has been totally
un-ethical. He says that he has never been interviewed or issued any
statement on the subject of Bougainville Independence and was shocked to
hear the media reports.

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Contact Details:
================

Vikki John (BFM)     +61-2-558-2730   email: V.john at uts.edu.au
Moses Havini (BIG)   +61-2-804-7602
Max Watts            +61-2-818-2343   email: MWATTS at fisher.biz.usyd.edu.au
(Journalist specialising in Bougainville, East Timor and West Papua issues)

Bougainville Freedom Movement
P.O. Box 134, Erskineville, NSW 2043, Australia

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