Asian business people in Bougainville under attack

A former leader in Bougainville has hit out at the presence of Asians running retail businesses, especially in the main town Buka.

The former secretary of the Bougainville Interim Government, Martin Miriori, was commenting after the looting of two Asian businesses in Buka on Friday last week.

Local reports said the shops had been selling goods that exploited the treasured 'Upe' symbol from the Wakunai district.

Mr Miriori, a brother of former Bougainville president, Joseph Kabui, issued a statement saying Bougainville is for the Bougainvilleans and that the Asian businesses were being targeted for their insensitive business practices.

He said Bougainville could only welcome genuine foreign investors not people who would force Bougainvilleans out of their retail businesses through what he claimed were unfair practices.

Mr Miriroi claimed the looting was just the tip of the iceberg.

The Autonomous Bougainville Government has planned legislation to limit foreign involvement in the retail sector, largely reserving it for locals.

It also planned to encourage joint ventures between foreigners and locals.


Photo: AFP. Caption: The Upe head cover worn in Bougainville