BOUGAINVILLE PEACE IN THE HANDS OF WARRING PARTIES

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (November 13, 1997-Niuswire/ Post-Courier)---The Bougainville normalization process must reconcile the relationship between the Papua New Guinea government's security forces and the Bougainville Revolutionary Army to ensure that the momentum toward achieving a lasting peace continues, the Post-Courier newspaper reported today.

This was highlighted at a special meeting for peace/reconciliation on Bougainville held at the MacGregor Police Barracks, outside Port Moresby, by speakers who called for the government to take the lead.

The special meeting, attended by Opposition Leader Bernard Narokobi, Bougainville Regional MP John Momis, Police Commissioner Peter Aigilo, and Defense Force Commander's representative Colonel Jack Tuat, was part of an on-going initiative for "peace and reconciliation visits to Laguai village in Buin."

It was inspired by the release earlier this year of five security forces members held hostage by the BRA since the Kangu Beach massacre in October 1996.

Following their release, colleagues and families raised funds which were sent to Laguai as a token of reconciliation and appreciation for preserving their lives and taking care of them.

Fundraisers include a walkathon and a National Broadcasting Corporation nationwide appeal through the Roger Hau'ofa Talkback Show.

Mr. Aigilo said "security forces and the BRA must reconcile and shake hands" for everything else to fall into place.

Two senior police officers from MacGregor Barracks and other speakers, including Individual and Community Rights Advocacy Forum leader Powes Parkop, told the politicians that the Bougainville crisis was a national problem.

The officers said the peace process was going well but a reconciliation between security forces and the BRA would give it credibility.

They said it was vital that national politicians consider contributing their Electoral Development Funds towards this initiative.

They are convinced that when the security forces and the BRA reconcile, peace will come.

They want the government to support and facilitate that move "so we can get together, forgive them, and them us."

Mr. Parkop suggested a nationwide wheelbarrow push spearheaded by the NGOs and the police from the various barracks. This, he said, would involve all in PNG society in resolving the Bougainville crisis.

Mr. Narokobi said in his introductory remarks that the current peace momentum was a result of the tearful prayers of many mothers.

"Today, we are happy to see a rainbow of hope appear and we celebrate with you," he said, urging them to keep praying, sacrificing and fasting until complete peace is restored.

Title -- 1007 BOUGAINVILLE: Peace in the hands of warring parties Date -- 10 November 1997 Byline -- Peter Niesi Origin -- Niuswire (niusedita@pactok.net.au) Source -- Post-Courier (PNG), 10/11/97 Copyright -- Post-Courier Status -- Abridged

This document is for educational and personal use only. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright source for reprinting. This service is provided by Journalism Studies, University of Papua New Guinea. Please acknowledge NIUSWIRE. Queries: niusedita@pactok.net.au http://www.pactok.net.au/docs/nius/

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