ABG denies funding armed groups

National, Normal

The National, Monday, May 2, 2011

THE Autonomous Bougainville Government does not pay and will not pay armed groups in Bougainville, acting President Patrick Nisira says.
Nisira stressed this after media reports last Wednesday claimed rebel Damien Koike warned the ABG to help the Me’ekamui Defence Force settle outstanding claims.
It reported Koike wanted the issues handled by the United Nations.
In a statement yesterday, the ABG “wholeheartedly welcomed UN intervention in the Konnou area”.
Another report quoted a chief from Wissai alleging that criminal activities in the Konnou constituency of South Bougainville were being funded by the ABG.
The ABG strongly denied that.
“The ABG does not believe that the barrel of the gun will solve anything in South Bougainville especially criminal groups causing instability and disunity among the peace loving people of Wisai and in the Konnou area,” Nisira said.
He said the ABG would not pay compensation for any deaths which may have occurred recently in the Konnou area as a result of violence and lawlessness.
Nisira said the ABG “is committed to the peace agreement and will ensure that peace remains a priority and will prevail to enhance the livelihood of Bougainvilleans who abide by this agreement”.
“The ABG condemns in the strongest possible term the manner in which two men had been killed by armed groups before the Easter break. These murderous acts must stop,” he said.
He said the people of Bougainville had had enough of this type of activities and were fed up of everyone found with arms on Bougainville.
“The sale of ammunition and guns to those who have the potential to derail and cause a big set-back to the peace process must stop now.
“If anyone is in this illegal trade, he is responsible for the deaths caused by guns or ammunition that he supplies,” Nisira said.
He called on the chiefs, community leaders, church groups and right thinking citizens throughout the region to respect the peace process in Bougainville.