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Bougainville Updates

This page carries the August 2000 Bougainville news updates as received. You can find previous updates in the archive.

If you don't know what all this is about, Bougainville - The long struggle for freedom tells the whole story of the colonialisation, successful revolution and continuing war being waged against the life of Bougainville by western governments on behalf of corporations.

BOOK: Building Peace in Bougainville - Details & Order Form

Index: August 2000


Bougainvilleans set for rally in Arawa

By MORESI RUAHMA'A

THE BOUGAINVILLE crisis-tattered township of Arawa in Central Bougainville will come alive tomorrow when thousands of people stage a protest march to push for the highest form of autonomy and the referendum for independence.

A petition to this effect will be delivered to Bougainville Peoples Congress president and Bougainville Governor John Momis. And as the countdown to the fifth and final round of peace talks draws near, people from all over the island are gathering in Arawa. The details of the petition is not clear but Mr Momis' media officer Timothy Masiu said: "It will be in support of the highest form of autonomy and the referendum." "People of Bougainville, including the mothers and children, from South, Central and North will take to the streets of Arawa and march to deliver a petition to Mr Momis and Joseph Kabui, to be handed over to the National Government," he said yesterday. Mr Masiu, who is now in Port Moresby, flew over from Buka with the Bougainville technical team ahead of the fifth round of leaders talks next Monday (Sept 4), told The National the situation is very tense on the island. "But that does not mean that there will be fighting ... it's just that people are really on their toes; they want the National Government to fast-track the peace process," he said. Mr Masiu also said: "The Bougainville technical team is ready to seriously talk and set out the groundwork for the talks, and we want the same approach from the National Government technical team." Meanwhile, the Bougainville Freedom Movement (BFM) group based in Cairns, Australia, have commended Mining and Bougainville Affairs Minister Sir Michael Somare for supporting the demand for a referendum for independence. Sir Michael was reported to have said he is keen to pave way for referendum on the political future of North Solomons province. In a joint media release, BFM spokesmen William Ruama Reinhart and Solomon Havini said: "We are very happy that Sir Michael has come to his senses." They said: "As a leader of high profile and the first Prime Minister of PNG with good historical knowledge of the Bougainville struggle, we salute him for his courage he took on this very sensitive issue." Mr Reinhart and Havini said: "Nobody likes war on the island, and we are adamant that the referendum is the only ultimate aim to achieve lasting peace to determine the wishes of the people." The spokesmen also appealed to all leaders in the National Government to work tirelessly in Melanesian spirit towards a true and amicable solution. They also warned against any divide and rule tactics which the Government might try to play to delay the peace process.

Source: The National, 29 August 00

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Bougainville restlessly waits for PNG agreement

By MARY LOUISE O'CALLAGHAN

For the past three years, the Bougainville peace process has been the good news story of the South Pacific - the newspaper headlines drying up along with the violent clashes and deaths.

But PNG's most troublesome island is threatening to erupt again. The 25th anniversary of the nation's independence, due to be celebrated on September 16, has become the de facto deadline for an agreement with Port Moresby on a political resolution of the crisis.

Rebel leader and nascent politician James Tanis is confident he speaks for all Bougainvilleans when he declares: "After 10 years of war, no one wants war again." But he says this commitment to peace should not be misinterpreted as weakness.

"The speed of the reconciliation, the aggressive attitude that people have taken, is something that the Government should take notice of because it is not normal for a Bougainvillean to just forget like that. They are doing it for a reason."

After being hit by secessionist violence for almost a decade, a series of events in 1997 - including a change of government in Port Moresby and the Sandline mercenary crisis - provided a chance to ease the longest-running conflict in the region's history.

Quietly, slowly and for the most part without fanfare, Canberra, Wellington, Port Moresby and, most significantly, those on the ground in Bougainville, turned their attention to crafting a lasting peace.

Since then, hundreds of unarmed regional peace monitors, drawn mostly from the Australian Defence Force, have been posted to the island to provide the atmosphere needed for

Bougainvilleans to rebuild trust within their communities, reconcile their differences and reach a common negotiating position.

Port Moresby, particularly under the previous Skate government, welcomed these initiatives, agreeing to the involvement of the UN and scaling down the PNG Defence Force on the island.

Canberra, apart from funding most of the peace process - about $40 million a year - has spent a further $100 million on humanitarian aid and reconstruction.

People are no longer dying from a lack of medicine, copra is being cut again and many villages have received assistance in establishing income-generating projects.

But on the weekend, Bougainville Governor John Momis and the president of the Bougainville People's Congress, Joseph Kabui, joined forces to warn that even these hard-fought gains were at risk if a political resolution were not rapidly reached.

"For very many Bougainvilleans, lasting peace depends on the political settlement," their statement said.

Technical talks between officials on both sides start this week in Port Moresby in what Bougainvilleans hope will be the last detailed negotiations needed to secure their demands for a high level of autonomy and the right to hold a referendum on independence.

Although PNG's Minister for Bougainville Affairs, Michael Somare, has publicly promised both, Port Moresby's failure in recent months to provide any final proposal has heightened fears on Bougainville that another opportunity is about to be missed.

These frustrations have been compounded by an apparent increase in the number of PNG troops on the island.

Mr Kabui and Mr Momis, once at opposite ends of the political spectrum, warned they might not be able to control the reaction on the island if this week's talks did not produce something concrete.

"Many fear that a renewal of war is being planned," their statement said.

"We are doing all we can to reassure people, to calm the situation and reduce tension, but the tension is real. As a result, the whole peace process could be put at risk by a single false step."

Canberra is watching developments closely. A scaling down of the peace monitoring group is now on hold until at least October.

The commander of the PNGDF, Brigadier-General Karl Malpo, this week denied there was any build-up of troops, saying there had been the normal rotation of troops and that the army remained committed to the peace process.

But as one close observer said this week, the real danger was in the shadows. He said: "When people start seeing shadows, they start shadow boxing and before you know it, it can be on for one and all."

Source: The Australian, 28 Aug 00

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Somare 'ready for Bougainville referendum'

Australian paper says Chief supports vote

BOUGAINVILLE Affairs Minister Sir Michael Somare is keen to pave the way for a referendum on the future political status of North Solomons province, according to a report in the Australian media at the weekend.

However, in counter statement last night, Bougainville Governor John Momis and Bougainville People's Congress president Joseph urged the National Government that when officials from both sides meet in Port Moresby today, it was important that Waigani comes up with constructive responses to the Bougainville proposals for autonomy. Sir Michael said in an interview published in The Weekend Australian that his latest stance was in an effort to end a dangerous impasse in the current peace talks. Sir Michael, who recently returned from visits to Switzerland and Canberra, Australia, to give addresses on the Bougainville issue, reportedly said he planned to recommend to Cabinet that the Constitution be amended to provide for a referendum. He said Cabinet had said no previously but in the light of recent events in neighbouring Solomon Islands and Fiji, changes must be made. "After 25 years we have mellowed, people are more mature now and I think there is a need for a review to bring about a provision in the organic law which provides for a referendum," he told the newspaper in Canberra. Sir Michael said he aimed to do this ahead of crucial Bougainville "leaders talks", scheduled to be held early next month in Wewak, before the Sept 15 deadline that has been set for reaching agreement on a political settlement of the long-running secession crisis. The Weekend Australian said the move by Sir Michael also followed "robust representations" from Foreign Minister Alexander Downer in bilateral talks last week.It is understood Mr Downer supported the idea of a referendum, and urged Sir Michael not to let the opportunity for a peaceful resolution of the Bougainville crisis to pass. Tensions have been mounting in Bougainville, where about 200 unarmed Australian peace monitors are currently stationed, ahead of the September deadline. Key rebel leaders, including Sam Kauona who is studying in New Zealand, have warned in recent weeks that fighting could resume on the island if a detailed agreement was not been struck by this date. Successive PNG governments have rejected the idea of a referendum on the future political status of Bougainville, fearing that it could trigger a domino affect leading to similar demands by other provinces. But Sir Michael said he would try to persuade Cabinet to reconsider the matter in a wider context. "The Government has made it quite clear there is no referendum ... it is doing that because the Cabinet says the constitution doesn't provide for it," he said.

"But having given it some thought, I have different views, I think it is time now to open up and provide a provision in the organic law for a referendum to be conducted, not only for independence but ... on many major issues that we are now confronting." Sir Michael said these issues included the death penalty and the question of whether PNG should become a republic. A Bougainville negotiating team representing all factions on the island has been negotiating with Sir Michael for more than a year after he undertook to grant Bougainville the "highest form of autonomy". Despite the original demands of the founder of the Bougainville rebellion, Francis Ona, for immediate independence, this offer was accepted by the Bougainville negotiating team on the condition that provision be made for a possible referendum on the island's political status sometime in the future.

Source: The National - 28 August 00

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Take next step to end conflict, say Momis, Kabui

BOUGAINVILLE Governor John Momis and Bougainville People's Congress president Joseph Kabui yesterday issued urged Sir Michael Somare and the National Government to make its most important contribution to resolving the Bougainville conflict.

In a joint statement Mr Momis and Mr Kabui said, "... for many Bougainvilleans, lasting peace depends on the political settlement". "Many people fought and died for independence. Now they have agreed to negotiate for something else - for highest autonomy and for the right to a referendum on independence," they said. The leaders said it had been hard for them to drop their demands for independence and equally, for other Bougainvilleans who opposed the Bougainville separatist rebels, it had not been easy to agree to support the referendum proposals. They claimed that since June when Sir Michael proposed completing a political agreement by Sept 15, there had been very little progress. "When officials from both sides meet in Port Moresby (today), it is very important that the National Government comes up with constructive responses to the Bougainville proposals," they said. "It will be very hard for us, as leaders, to keep the peace process on track if there is no positive development in the technical officers' talks. We will be watching closely what happens in the technical officers' talks." Messrs Momis and Kabui said that if there was no indication of progress, they would have to consider carefully whether there was any point in the Bougainville leaders attending the leaders' talks scheduled for Wewak on Sept 4. Mr Momis and Mr Kabui said they agreed with the date (Sept 15) for reaching a political settlement remained important. "It is now up to the National Government to show it is serious about reaching an agreement by 15th September. We have heard that Sir Michael Somare has been saying that he now no longer expects an agreement by 15th September," they said. "We are very surprised. We can only believe that there is some mistake in the media reports. All Bougainvilleans believed the minister was committed to the 15th." Mr Momis and Mr Kabui said that tension in Bougainville was high, being caused by two things. The first was the approach of Sept 15 and fear the National Government was not serious about reaching agreement by then. "The second is the build up of PNGDF personnel, construction of bunkers, arming of resistance forces, and strong rumours that rogue elements of the PNGDF may be planning assassination of Bougainville leaders," they said. "Many fear that a renewal of war is being planned. We are doing all we can to reassure people, to calm the situation and reduce tension. But the tension is real. As a result the whole peace process could be put at risk by a single false step."

Source: The National - 28 August 00

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War will not be renewed on Bougainville says Kabui

The president of the Bougainville People's Congress, Joseph Kabui, says he will NOT entertain renewed violence on Bougainville.

Island Governor, John Momis, also said he wants the peace process upheld with support from the National Government. Both men were speaking in Arawa were they were attending a personal viability course. They asked all Bougainvilleans to be calm and assured that they are both fully committed and supportive of the peace process

The assurances were in response to recent warnings by former rebel leader, Sam Kauona, on quitting his studies in New Zealand to renew the war on Bougainville. Mr Momis said the idea of taking up armed struggle again should not at all be encouraged.

Source: Radio Australia, World News, 25 August 00

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Minister's ire at Bougainville inaction claim

BOUGAINVILLE Affairs Minister Sir Michael Somare is not happy with accusations by Bougainville Governor John Momis.

He is also unhappy about comments made by former rebel leader Sam Kauona and Bougainville People's Congress vice president James Tanis on resuming the armed struggle on Bougainville. Mr Momis told a symposium in Canberra, Australia, that the PNG Government was not doing enough for Bougainville. Sir Michael, in his response to comments by Mr Momis, Mr Kauona and Mr Tanis that the Government was inactive on the issue, said he was not happy about it. Sir Michael said the National Government was doing all it could to restore peace on the island. He said: "We have done everything possible . . . we even have bent over backward . . . to do things for the administration on the island . . . we went, we supported Momis for the court case . . . which installed him as a governor of the province. He has his executive council, there is extra budget allocated and Bougainville alone gets a total of K80 million this year. Now if the Governor and his administration cannot organise themselves, there is something drastically horrible. Yes, maybe National Government itself may not have done things but we specifically agreed for amendment to the laws. Maybe there is no money is going into the system. Now administration is not our job, administration is Momis and his public servants on the ground . . ."

Source: Postcourier - 24 Aug 00

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PNGDF head calls for calm

PAPUA New Guinea Defence Force commander Brigadier General Carl Malpo called on the people of Bougainville to stay calm and not fear current developments witnessed in army camps throughout Bougainville.

Brigadier Malpo, who arrived on Bougainville at the weekend, told Radio Bougainville that the army had no plans of engaging itself in any violence on Bougainville. He said what the people had witnessed was standard procedure taken by troops as part of a defensive posture. Brigadier Malpo called on the BRA to explain whether it was true that it would be going on the offensive after September 15. He said that as commander of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force, there were no plans in place to launch an offensive. "I am strongly calling on the people of Bougainville to remain calm," he said. "I am assuring you all that the PNGDF does not have any plans to disturb the current peace process and the restoration and rebuilding on Bougainville. But I also want the BRA to come out very clearly on where they stand. We have received information that our positions would be targeted after the September 15 deadline." Brigadier Malpo said he met resistance force chairman Hilary Masiria and discussed the issue on the rebels re-arming themselves. "All I can say is if there are such moves on the ground that I am not aware off, then I will discourage it. My strongest conviction is that I don't believe there is going to be any fighting at all." He said the presence of boats and helicopters were part of the peacetime operations.

Kabui, Momis assure of no more violence BOUGAINVILLE People's Congress president Joseph Kabui yesterday assured that he would not entertain renewed violence on Bougainville. And the island Governor John Momis wants the peace process upheld with much support from the National Government. Both leaders spoke from Arawa yesterday where they were attending a personal viability course. They are asking all Bougainvilleans to be calm and assured that they are both fully committed and supportive to the peace process and that co-operation is needed from everyone. Responding to recent warnings by former rebel leader Sam Kauona on quitting his studies in New Zealand to renew the war on the island, Momis and Kabui condemned the idea and urged that Mr Kauona continued his studies until completed, as things were well taken care of. Mr Momis said the idea of taking up armed struggle again should not at all be encouraged. He said: "Those type of comments will come. Asking people to do this and that but I want to assure everyone that peace will still continue." He said he was aware these types of comments would come about from people like Sam Kauona as they represented the common views of people.

Mr Kabui asked the National Government to recognise the peace process and a clear conscience from everybody. He said a lot of people on the island wanted lasting peace and he was doing all he could with other leaders to negotiate for that. Mr Kabui said that BRA hard-liners also supported the peace process.

Source: Postcourier - 24 Aug 00

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Kauona ready to fight again

FORMER commander of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army Sam Kauona yesterday confirmed from New Zealand he wants to quit his studies and fly back home to renew the war on Bougainville.

"I have to go back home and achieve what Bougainville has aimed for. If the Government is not going to give what we want then I might as well quit and go back home to help my fellow BRA's fight," Mr Kauona said. Mr Kauona said yesterday that he was very disappointed with the way the Bougainville issue was being handled and claimed little that was done was not bearing any fruit. He said that outside meetings, especially seminars and workshops on Bougainville, should be stopped. "Any workshop or seminar out of Bougainville and with regard to the Bougainville Peace Process must involve all Bougainvilleans and should not be entertained without them," he said. "PNG is making us look like criminals especially on this issue." Mr Kauona also challenged the Bougainville Affairs Minister Sir Michael Somare on the issue of arms disposal on the island and said that he (Sir Michael) had no right to talk about arms in Bougainville. He said: "We have a plan for these arms and the plan is very clear. These arms are Bougainville's property and Sir Michael doesn't have any right to talk about them. We are controlling it more progressively." Meanwhile, Sir Michael yesterday said Mr Kauona and his colleague, Bougainville People's Congress president James Tanis ought to be ashamed of what they had done. Sir Michael said the PNG Government was doing all it can to restore peace on the island.

COMMENT: Sir Michael Somare is an ineffective leader who has shown his true colours. If the peace process breaks down the blame will be squarely on his shoulders. He has been full of broken promises. He has failed to genuinely address the political issues for the people of Bougainville, that is, the highest form of autonomy and a referendum. Shame Somare shame.

Source: Postcourier - 23 August 00

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Bougainville's '10 more years of war'

By MARY-LOUISE O'CALLAGHAN

Key leaders of the Bougainville rebellion warned yesterday that the PNG Government's failure to finalise an autonomy agreement had placed the island's three-year-old peace process in serious jeopardy.

Both the former commander of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, Sam Kauona, and the vice-president of the Bougainville People's Congress, James Tanis, said fighting could resume on the island if an agreement could not be reached with the Morauta Government by September 15.

There are about 250 Australian peace monitors on Bougainville as part of a "peace process", which has been largely underwritten by Canberra. "General" Kauona, who is studying in New Zealand, is threatening to quit his training as a helicopter pilot to return to Bougainville and resume command of the BRA.

He said the PNG Government had a last chance to address the Bougainville question and end the conflict. "If they don't, they will risk an escalation of this war for another 10 years and a further sinking of the PNG economy," he said.

Mr Kauona accused the Morauta Government, including Minister for Bougainville Affairs Michael Somare, of playing "smart" with Bougainvilleans, in trying to avoid an agreement granting autonomy and the option of a referendum.

"I am disappointed at Papua New Guinea's lack of responsibility in genuinely addressing the political issue for the people of Bougainville and for calculatingly dragging its feet.

"Sir Michael Somare is playing with the people of Bougainville, as if he were negotiating with them back in the 70s," Mr Kauona said in a reference to Sir Michael's role when, as PNG's first prime minister, he defused an earlier secession bid by Bougainville in 1975, the year of PNG's independence.

Negotiations between Bougainville and Port Moresby for a lasting solution to the crisis got under way in earnest nearly a year ago but have been increasingly tense since it became apparent it was unlikely an agreement would be reached by the 25th anniversary of PNG's independence on September 16. The sticking points appear to be the scope of the autonomy being sought by Bougainvilleans and their non-negotiable stipulation that they must be able to hold a referendum on the future political status of the island if they wish.

Mr Tanis, also a former BRA fighter, told The Australian that without agreement on both these issues it would be difficult for Bougainville leaders to stop a return to violence on the island.

He said although committed to the peace process, the leadership may be forced to hold its own referendum in order to defuse the situation. "If they don't grant us autonomy and a referendum we will have no other choice but to go ahead and implement it because if we do not do that the fighters will resort to violence."

He said it would then be up to Australia, New Zealand and the Papua New Guinea Government to recognise the outcome of such a referendum.

Source: The Australian, 22 August 00

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Kauona threatens to resume armed struggle

FORMER Bougainville rebel leader Sam Kauona is reportedly thinking of quitting his studies in New Zealand to take up the arms struggle again.

Mr Kauona was reported in a statement released in Auckland on Friday as saying that his planned move was in the face of claims of a build-up of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force on Bougainville and the rebuilding of bunkers in Loloho and other existing PNGDF army camps on Bougainville. The statement also urged Bougainville leaders to stand firm and be united; warned Bougainville Affairs Minister Sir Michael Somare not to play "smart tricks" with Bougainville; and PNG to deliver to avoid re-escalation of war. According to the statement, Mr Kauona was disappointed at Waigani's lack of responsibility in genuinely addressing the political issue for the people of Bougainville - and for dragging its feet and testing the patience of the people of Bougainville. "I am now seriously thinking of quitting my studies here in New Zealand to go back to Bougainville and resume command of the Bougainville revolutionary forces. If need be I am more than prepared to pack my things and family and return to Bougainville," the statement quoted Mr Kauona as saying. "This is before the anticipated response from the Papua New Guinea Government on Sept 15 on the two key issues of an autonomous region of Bougainville, and a referendum. The dust on Bougainville is picking up again and obviously the people of Bougainville are somewhat not happy with how the PNG Government has been an unwilling partner in really seriously addressing a true political settlement on Bougainville. While I do respect Sir Michael as a person, his leadership to resolving the PNG/Bougainville conflict is sub-standard." Mr Kauona said he was also thinking of renewing his relationship with Francis Ona who still has not come into the peace process.

Source: The National - 21 August 00

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BOUGAINVILLE ATTENTION: All Media - URGENT - Media Statement

Former BRA Commander General Sam Kauona Considers quitting to resume responsibility in Bougainville; urges Bougainville Leaders stand firm and be united, warns Somare not to play "smart tricks" with Bougainville, and PNG to deliver to avoid re-escalation of war with PNG.

Auckland Friday 18 August 2000: In a statement released today former BRA Commander General Sam Kauona said he was thinking of quitting his studies to return to Bougainville to resume the command of the BRA leadership.

He was making this statement in the face of the widely reported build-ups of the Papua New Guinea defence force on Bougainville and the re-building of bunkers in Loloho and other existing PNGDF army camps on Bougainville.

He was also disappointed at Papua New Guinea's lack of responsibility in genuinely addressing the political issue for the people of Bougainville and for calculatingly dragging its feet and obviously testing the patient of the people of Bougainville.

He was also not happy with the game of "playing smart tricks " Sir Michael Somare was playing with the people of Bougainville, as if he was negotiating with them back in the seventies.

He urged the PNG leadership to seriously address the "Bougainville Question" to end this conflict/war. That this conflict was resolved now or see an escalation of this war for another ten years and continuing sinking of PNG and its economy.

He also called upon the leaders of Bougainville to be united, stand firm and rally behind their people who were innocent victims of the Bougainville crisis/war. And want nothing less then a referendum as their just rewards of the lives they lost in this war.

"I am now seriously thinking of quitting my studies here in New Zealand to go back to Bougainville and resume command of the Bougainville Revolutionary. If need be I am more than prepared to pack my things and family and return to Bougainville".

"This is before the anticipated response from the Papua New Guinea Government on the 15th of September on the two key issues of an autonomous region of Bougainville, and a referendum", said the former BRA Commander and Leader from New Zealand.

"The dust on Bougainville is picking up again and obviously the people of Bougainville are somewhat not happy with how the PNG Government has been an unwilling partner in really seriously addressing a true political settlement on Bougainville".

"Whilst I do respect Sir Michael as a person, his leadership to resolving the PNG/Bougainville conflict is sub-standard.". "Whilst Somare is renown for his 'PNG statesmanship' and may use his so-called clever statesmanship as the 'smart bomb' to bomb the political issues on Bougainville; then he is grossly miss-calculating the resolve of the people of Bougainville. Somare - the time for smart tricks is over and we are now all grown-ups", taunted the former Commander.

He also issued an urgent call to all the Bougainville Leadership in the - Bougainville Peoples Congress the "Interim Bougainville Government", and in its Technical officers to be united and stand firm behind their people.

"Just to accept 'thirty pieces of silver', to live better and have a bit more kina in your bank account than other Bougainville families - is to commit a sin perhaps more damning than what Judas committed to have Jesus Christ nailed on the tree", said Kauona.

"With my Bougainville Leaders I am pleading to you not be two-faced. And be just lackeys (..man-servant..) and 'brief case carriers' for PNG leaders such as Sir Michael Somare. We have suffered, lost precious thousands of lives and own our families long enough - just to be tempted by 'thirty pieces of silver' from Papua New Guinea", warned Kauona from New Zealand.

" I urge you to fully support our two leaders - President Kabui and Governor John Momis. And please I ask you not to be the 'Judases' of today against Bougainville. Counting your 'thirty pieces of silver' behind our leader's backs and the trust the people of Bougainville have put on you"

"To do this is to just dig one dig one big grave for all of Bougainville. And we do not want another big gapping hole like the one we already have at Panguna", Kaouna reminded his leaders and officers.

The former BRA Commander was also now thinking of renewing his relationship with Mr. Francis Ona who still has not come into the peace process......... End.

For further contact please ring: +(646) 355 0232 New Zealand or +(61-2) 9804 7632/ Cell phone: 0414 226 428 - Australia..

Source: Media Statement - 18 August 00

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No army ops underway on Bougainville: Commander

PAPUA New Guinea Defence Force contingent commander, Major Endi Kiak in Bougainville has brushed aside rumors that the PNGDF contingent is stepping up operations on the island before the nationwide 25th Silver Jubilee celebrations in the country.

Major Kiak assured the people of Bougainville and the National Government that the PNGDF is committed to peace and has no hidden agendas as claimed by the Peace Monitoring Group on the Island. He said they were on Bougainville under the National Government orders to promote peace and assist in reconstruction when called upon by the government. Major Kiak was also invited as a guest to the West Coast reconciliation ceremony with national and local leaders including BRA and resistance commanders last week at Hahon community school. Major Kiak urged those who have been spreading such rumors to have some consideration of the sensitiveness of the situation and should have courtesy to consult the PNGDF on the ground, before jumping the gun. "I has the contingent ground commander is not aware of such step up operation and PNGDF headquarters nor I are aware of these allegations, also I have never issued orders for the operation. The PNGDF is here to work hand in hand with our Bougainvillean brothers towards peace and we are here to stay until such time the national Government terminates our presence here on the Island," he said.

Source: The National - 17 August 00

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Kabui happy with rivals talking peace for B'ville

THE president of the Bougainville People's Congress Joseph Kabui says he is happy to hear ex-combatants talking openly about lasting peace on the island.

Mr Kabui, who was guest of honor at the West Coast district reconciliation ceremony, also described the ongoing reconciliation activities as happening at a critical period. He said he hoped and prayed the statements from the ex-combatants would hold forever. "It is very clear that no-one wants to fight. We have experienced and witnessed a lot of things since the war erupted in 1989, and this occasion today is to see that we are all committed to the peace process on Bougainville," he said. He said politicians would also continue to negotiate for a peaceful Bougainville, calling on the National Government to be genuine in its part by granting the highest possible autonomy and referendum on Bouginville. He said: "It would be a political mistake if blood spilled again on Bougainville. The key fighting men have given their word. More importantly the mothers, the children and the chiefs have spoken. They want classrooms and health facilities to be built."

Source: Postcourier - 14 August, 00

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Waigani does not understand Bougainville, says Momis

NORTH Solomons Governor John Momis told an Australian audience in Canberra yesterday that the National Government is "systematically not responding" to reasonable requests from the people of Bougainville on the question of autonomy, referendum and disarmament.

He said during a Bougainville Conference at the Australian National University that the Waigani bureaucracy and the National Government leadership do not understand these issues, which the Bougainville delegation had put forward for negotiation, especially through the Gateway Communique early last month. "Bougainville crisis being a complex issue, you also need to address the question of efficient delivery of services and that question of disarmament with the negotiation of autonomy and the referendum. Those four issues must be simultaneously and adequately addressed and Waigani does not seem to understand that you can't talk about disarmament in isolation from a creative engagement in negotiations and in isolation from the efficient delivery of services," Mr Momis said. He said the North Solomons provincial government and the Bougainville People's Congress had been "carrying the political can for the central authority ... we can't go on doing this because they (Waigani) are systematically not responding to what I consider reasonable requests from the people of Bougainville to address the question of services, negotiation and disarmament". He said: "I think they are mistakenly taking for granted peace on Bougainville." Mr Momis said destabilisation, should it occur, would not be initiated by the leadership, but by the people, due to frustration and feeling of disempowerment. He said the Bougainville issue has been at the forefront since before World War II - many people mistake it to be a result of Panguna mind. "The people of Bougainville, because of their distinct historical background, because of their historical back ground, always felt separate. If we don't resolve it now, we will be guilty - we will be sinning by omission by allowing this instability to be regionalised in the Pacific," he warned. Mr Momis said the perception created by Waigani dragging its feet is that it (the Government) does not understand. "Their reluctance to devolve or to recognise that there is a difference in Bougainville is very much regretted by the people of Bougainville because we have decided to opt for autonomy within the parameters of the PNG constitution." Bougainville hardliners have in fact said if nothing good comes by Sept 15, they would take "certain measures". However, Bougainville Affairs Minister Sir Michael Somare said on Thursday before flying to Switzerland for another Bougainville conference that the first reading of amendments to the Constitution to give autonomy to Bougainville would be presented to Parliament for debate next month. Mr Momis, however, said that there must be a demonstration of goodwill by the National Government.

Source: The National, Friday 11 August, 2000

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Australian soldiers' indecent video 'not on'

08.08.2000 - By GEOFF CUMMING and AGENCIES

An offensive video shown to New Zealand peacekeepers in Bougainville has brought red faces and a full investigation within the Australian Defence Force.

The home video targeting women and gays has put discrimination policies under a microscope, with progress made by New Zealand's armed forces held up as a model for Australia to match.

The 10-minute video shows mostly male defence personnel dressed as large-breasted women parading on decorated military vehicles, making crude jokes and simulating indecent acts.

Made in March, the tape features up to 20 members of Australia's peace monitoring group in a take-off of Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Rodney Croome, the director of Australia's Council for Gay and Lesbian Rights, said the video prompted complaints when it was shown to Australian, New Zealand, Fijian and Vanuatuan peacekeepers and some diplomats.

The video was professionally edited and went beyond gangshow lampooning, he said.

"People have said it's just soldiers letting off steam, but when it's viciously degrading minority groups and women it's not on.

"It is not only tasteless but very derogatory ... The worst bits could not be shown on TV."

The issue showed up the Australian Defence Force's lack of progress in addressing discrimination and harassment compared with its New Zealand counterpart.

"From our perspective, the New Zealand Defence Force is a model and deserves a really big tick," Mr Croome said in Canberra.

In Wellington, Defence Force spokeswoman Deborah Mulliss said initiatives had been put in place in the past decade to ensure minorities and women did not feel marginalised.

Policies were reviewed after the 1998 gender integration audit, which followed complaints of harassment from women sailors on the frigate Wellington.

Deborah Mulliss said all camps and bases now had anti-harassment advisers, trained mediators and investigators. Recruits were advised on acceptable behaviour and those in command were fully trained.

"There's quite a detailed infrastructure in place to support staff who have issues about other people's behaviour. "Being in a place like Bougainville, there is not a lot to do," she said. "It's about directing people's energies in the right direction. They play an awful lot of sport ... and those sorts of activities to let off steam."

An Australian Defence Force spokesman said all steps would be taken to prevent a repeat of the video.

Source: The New Zealand Herald - Wednesday, August 09 2000

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Rebels want binding agreement on autonomy

BOUGAINVILLE rebel hardliners have supported a call for the National Government to sponsor a legally binding agreement on autonomy and referendum before Sept 15 this year.

Rebel spokesman Ben Kamda said in a statement released from Buka yesterday that his militant group would pull out of any future negotiations and hold a referendum for independence after September this year if the Government failed to have an agreement signed.

The rebels noted that the National Government delegation leader, Sir Michael Somare, in June this year, assured the Bougainville leaders at their meeting at the Gateway Hotel in Port Moresby that he would sign the agreement with the leaders of Bougainville before Sept 15.

"Since the Gateway Communique was successfully signed in June, very little progress has been made and the National Government has not even indicated what powers it would keep and those it would provide to Bougainville as a settlement for permanent autonomy for Bougainville," Mr Kamda said.

He said that last week a joint meeting the Bougainville Peoples Congress and the interim Bougainville provincial government expressed concern that "the National Government continued to procrastinate on the key issues of a binding referendum and autonomy for Bougainville."

The BPC and IBPG had called called for Waigani to sponsor a legally binding agreement on autonomy and referendum before Sept 15 - the eve of PNG's 25th Independence anniversary.

Mr Kamda said his rebel faction of northern Bougainville meet for three hours yesterday to consider the threat to the peace process by the leaders and resolved to recommit their support for the Burham (New Zealand) Truce which lead to the Bougainville ceasefire agreement on April 30, 1997.

"We are fully committed to the Burham Truce which led to the ceasefire agreement and we further call on the PNG leaders and the Bougainvillean leaders to demonstrate real serious commitment on the issues of highest autonomy and a binding referendum for Bougainville's independence by September 15," Mr Kamda said.

Source: The National, Breaking News - (Tuesday Aug. 8, 2000)

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Free mutiny soldier says Kabui

By DANIEL K PINDIA

BOUGAINVILLE People's Congress president Joseph Kabui has called on the National Government to "free" the three soldiers jailed for mutiny.

Mr Kabui said this on Thursday when welcoming Anna Renagi, the wife of jailed soldier Bola Renagi, to Bougainville. Mrs Renagi flew to Bougainville to seek support from the people there to press for the release of her husband and two other soldiers.

The three - Capt Renagi, Capt Belden Namah, and 2nd Lt Linus Osaba - were jailed for a total of nearly 20 years after they were found guilty of mutiny. Renagi will serve a eight-year term, while Namah and Osaba will serve six each.

The three, along with Major Walter Enuma, were alleged to have held then PNG Defence Force commander Leo Nuia under house arrest during the Sandline crisis in 1997. The act is considered a mutinous act. Enuma and another soldier escaped any jail term.

The three have filed an appeal. Last week the Supreme Court refused an application for bail by lawyers for the three soldiers pending the hearing of the appeal against their conviction and sentencing.

In Bougainville, Mrs Renagi hopes to secure enough support to petition the government for the release of the soldiers. Mr Kabui urged Bougainvilleans to support Mrs Renagi and sign in support of a petition to the government for the soldiers' release.

Mr Kabui told radio FM96 the action of the three prevented a lot killing on Bougainville. He said he was sorry that they have been jailed for their action, and urged the Government to seek ways to release them.

Source: The National, Breaking News - (Tuesday Aug. 8, 2000)

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Chief wants next round of Bougainville talks in Wewak

BOUGAINVILLE Affairs Minister Sir Michael Somare wants the next Bougainville talks to be held in his hometown of Wewak.

The talks are scheduled to take place next month. A technical officers' meeting will be held in Port Moresby from Aug 28 to Sept 1 before the leaders' meet. Sir Michael said he has decided on Wewak to give both the leaders a different environment in dealing with the critical issues of autonomy and referendum. He said he has written to the Bougainville Governor John Momis informing him of the proposed dates and venue. Sir Michael said the technical officers in their last meeting early this month (July 7 to July 17) in Port Moresby agreed to provide each other with additional information on a number of key elements of the proposed autonomy and referendum draft agreement. The draft will require substantial input from key government agencies, including Treasury. Meanwhile, Bougainville People's Congress president Joseph Kabui has called on the National Government to "free'" the three soldiers jailed for mutiny. He said last Thursday when welcoming Anna Renagi, the wife of jailed soldier Bola Renagi, to Bougainville. Mrs Renagi flew to Bougainville to seek support from the people there to press for the release of her husband and two other soldiers. The three - Capt Renagi, Capt Belden Namah, and 2nd Lt Linus Osaba - were jailed for a total of nearly 20 years after they were found guilty of mutiny. Renagi will serve a eight-year term, while Namah and Osaba will serve six years each. The three, along with Major Walter Enuma, were found guilty of holding then Commander of the PNG Defence Force Leo Nuia under house arrest during the Sandline crisis in 1997. The act is considered a mutinous act. Major Enuma and another soldier escaped a jail. The three have filed an appeal. Last week the Supreme Court refused an application for bail by lawyers for the three soldiers pending the hearing of the appeal against their conviction and sentencing. In Bougainville, Mrs Renagi said she hopes to secure enough support to petition the Government for the release of the soldiers. Mr Kabui urged Bougainvilleans to support Mrs Renagi and sign her petition. Mr Kabui told Radio FM96 that the three men's actions prevented what could have been bloodshed on Bougainville.

Source: The National, 7 August 00

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Momis urges unity among Bougainville leaders

A UNITED leadership must be maintained throughout the negotiation period and beyond if Bougainville is to gain an immediate autonomous government in the near future.

Bougainville Governor John Momis said this at Hoko yesterday during a meeting with the chiefs and elders from all over Buka. The meeting was held to iron out differences between the Leitana Council of Chiefs and members of the Bougainville People's Congress.

Mr Momis urged the leaders to be more positive and not to confuse themselves with side issues as the negotiations are in its most crucial stages, and any misunderstanding and disagreements would only divide the leaders. He reminded the leaders about the ceasefire agreement signed by the Bougainvillean leaders to end all hostilities and to negotiate on the future of Bougainville with the Papua New Guinea Government.

Mr Momis said he is unhappy over reports that after the Sept 15 deadline there would be trouble. He said: "I am very concerned about what some leaders are saying. This has negative effect on our people. The people must not be misled."

Leitana Council of Chiefs chairman Joel Banam and Bougainville People's Congress vice president Thomas Anis vowed to work together.

Source: The National, 3 August 00

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Wife of jailed soldier seeks help from Bougainville

THE wife of one of the PNG Defence Force soldiers in jail on mutiny charges is rallying support from Bougainvilleans for the release of her husband, according to military sources.

Anna Renagi, the wife of Captain Bola Renagi is reported to be leaving Port Moresby today for Buka where she intends to seek support from the rebels and people of Bougainville for the release of her husband, according to sources.

The National tried unsuccessfully to reach Mrs Renagi to confirm her proposed trip to Buka. However, according to the sources, she departs today and would be in Buka for a couple of days seeking support from both the rebels and the people.

Mrs Renagi and the wives of the other jailed soldiers strongly believe their husbands were wrongly jailed. They are seeking support from the community for the release of their husbands. It is believed Mrs Renagi is traveling to Buka after the soldiers' bail application failed in court early this week.

The trio - Capt Bola Renagi, Capt Belden Namah, and 2nd Lieutenant Linus Osaba - were recently convicted on charges of mutiny stemming from the Sandline mercenary crisis in 1997. They were imprisoned for a total of nearly 20 years by the National Court -Renagi for eight years, Namah and Osaba for six years each.

Their lawyers have appealed against the sentences. While the appeal was pending a date to be set for hearing, the lawyers had applied for the three to be released on bail. However, Chief Justice, Sir Arnold Amet rejected the bail application on Tuesday saying there is no right to bail following conviction.

Source: The National, 3 August 00

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Three arrested in Miriks murder case

By TIMOTHY KWARA

THREE youths have been arrested and charged in connection with the brutal killing of top Bougainvillean boxer Tony Miriks in May this year.

The three -- Jason William, 24, Camry Daniel, 27, and Gumbo Hetik, 23, appeared before the Waigani Committal Court last week.

William and Daniel are from East New Britain province while Hetik hails from Morobe province. They did not enter any plea and were not allowed bail.

Senior magistrate Henry Vogasang adjourned the case to Aug 3 for mention.

Miriks' body was found at Three-Mile, in the bushes just a few metres away from the Korobosea Seventh-Day Adventist Church grounds.

According to police reports, Miriks had died from multiple knife wounds to his right hand and left temple area.

There were wounds to other parts of his body as well.

Police believe that Miriks was killed after being involved in a drunken brawl with a group of people the evening before his body was found.

When the corpse was discovered, burnt leaves were found stuffed inside the mouth and the head was wrapped with sticky tape.

Miriks was last seen around the Boroko Post Office area accompanied by two men who were not identified.

Miriks, from Kurai village in the Kieta district, was 26 years old at the time of his death.

He was murdered just days after returning from the Oceania Olympic boxing trials held in Sydney, Australia.

At the trials, Miriks won a silver medal in the 49kg division, which however, was not enough to earn him an Olympic berth.

North Bougainville MP Michael Ogio had raised the killing in Parliament, where he also expressed concern over the deaths of two other Bougainvillean boxers who had met their fate in a similar manner in recent years.

The boxing fraternity in Papua New Guinea had been shocked by the news of the senseless killing.

Source: The National - 1 August 00

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Contact Details:

BFM - Bougainville Freedom Movement (Coordination in Australia):
VIKKI JOHN - e-mail: vikki@law.uts.edu.au
P.O. Box 134, Erskineville NSW 2043, Australia, Phone +61-2-9558-2730

BIG - Bougainville Interim Government
MOSES HAVINI (International Political Representative in Asia/Pacific)
PO Box 134, Erskinville, NSW 2043, Australia
tuluan@ar.com.au
Phone/Fax +61-2-9804-7632 , Mobile +61-(0)414-226-428

MARTIN MIRIORI (International BIG Secretary in Europe, NL)
e-mail: UNPOnl@antenna.nl (Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Org.)
Phone +31-55-577-99-60 , Fax +31-55-577-99-39

MAX WATTS - (specialised Journalist) email: RosieK@bigpond.com
P.O. Box 98, Annandale NSW 2038, Australia
Phone +61-2-9564-1147 , Phone/Fax +61-2-9818-2343 (work)