The National, 15 Nov 05
PX flight ‘diverted over threat’
By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
AIR Niugini is believed to have diverted a domestic flight bound for Buka on Saturday after learning that Me’ekamui soldiers planned to hijack the Fokker 28.
The plane had left Rabual earlier in the day and was supposed to fly to Buka before proceeding to Port Moresby.
It is understood that it flew to Port Moresby, along with its Buka-bound passengers.“We have information that the Air Nuigini management has stopped flights out of Buka since Saturday,” Bougainville police commander Asst Comm Joseph Bemu told The National.Buka Air Niugini airport manager Peter Pais declined to comment and referred The National to the head office in Port Moresby.
Air Niugini corporate affairs manager Eva Arni denied any knowledge of the incident.Mr Bemu said the police received a fax from Arawa last week warning of the plan to hijack an F28 from Buka airport to divert it to the old Aropa airport near Kieta.“We do not know the reason for this threat but we have stepped up security measures,” he said.He said he had assured Air Niugini that the airport was safe. “It’s now up to the airline’s management,” he said.Before Saturday’s incident, Air Niugini flew to Buka every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Mr Bemu also said that eight Fijians were in the Tonu area in South Bougainville
“Two Australians who were advisers to the late Francis Ona are among them,” he said.
“We cannot go in there to check it out because they are in the No-Go Zone area.
“We have spoken to Fijian Embassy officials in Port Moresby and they have expressed concern. ” Sources told The National that the Me’ekamui planned to hijack a plane to fly the Fijians out of Bougainville. It is believed that the Fijians flew in from the Solomon Islands in a helicopter chartered by Noah Musingku, who ran an outlawed money scheme.
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[I particularly like the virus scanner’s evaluation of this as ‘dangerous content’ – it is clean – I got it from Vicki John, who does a great job keeping us informed of Bougainville news by email. Yet some of this news is dangerous for sure. That there is discussion at all of reopening the money-spinning RTZ Panguna copper mine is amazing given the pain the whole war inflicted on the Island. Greetings to friends in the (check this out) PaRTiZans campaign group]