Bougainville rebels 'beaten'

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PORT MORESBY (Reuter) - The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Paias Wingti, said yesterday that government troops had taken control of Bougainville and he would visit the island next month to ask secessionist rebels to surrender.

Troops had seized the rebels' last stronghold, the provincial capital of Arawa, Mr Wingti said. 'Government authority is now established in central Bougainville and I am going there to ask rebels to surrender,' he said. For security reasons no date for the visit was released, but a spokesman said it was likely to be early next month. As well as visiting Arawa, Mr Wingti will inspect progress in restoring services.