BOUGAINVILLE REBELS NOT HAPPY WITH PEACE PROCESS: TOROAMA

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ARAWA, Papua New Guinea (May 1, 2000 – The National)---Bougainville rebel commander Ismael Toroama has claimed that the rebels are not happy with the way the Bougainville pace process is currently being manipulated by certain leaders to address the fundamental issue of a referendum on independence.

Mr. Toroama was speaking by telephone from Arawa last week, according to a statement released by the rebels' Australian spokesperson Vicki John.

According to the statement, Mr. Toroama warned that the rebels were not prepared to see the history of 1975 repeated by the same leaders who misjudged and mishandled the situation against the popular wishes of the people over the issue of a referendum.

He said the rebels were feeling uneasy and should they release their frustrations, it may prove costly to the whole peace process.

Mr. Toroama also warned against any deliberate attempt to either marginalize or reduce the influence of the rebels in the process by using a divide-and-rule tactic against its leaders, something which had become increasing apparent in recent months.

He said it seemed that the peace process was being hijacked and monopolized by certain people and their cronies who were making money out of the situation, while deliberately trying to tip the balance to the very side that has a clear track record in the past of denying the Bougainville people the right to a democratic choice of their political future.

Mr. Toroama said the rebels would closely monitor the situation, and unless they see that the real issue of a referendum was being addressed properly with firm commitment from the national Government, they would refuse to enter any discussion on issues such as weapons disposal or even allow the rebels leadership to participate in the coming peace talks.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

 

BRA UNHAPPY WITH PEACE PROCESS

By Raymond Palangat

ARAWA, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea (April 27, 2000 – The Independent)---Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) elements on Bougainville are apparently not at all happy with the current peace process and have threatened to disrupt it.

BRA commander, Ishmael Toroama has claimed that the BRA was not very happy with the way the Bougainville peace process was currently being manipulated by certain leaders in Bougainville and Papua New Guinea to address the fundamental issue of a referendum for the people of Bougainville on independence.

In a statement Commander Toroama warned that the BRA was not prepared to see the history of 1975 repeated again this time by the same leaders who misjudged and mishandled the situation against the popular wishes of the people on the issue of referendum. The statement was sent by BRA representative in the Netherlands Martin Miriori.

Commander Toroama said that it seemed that the peace process was now being hijacked and monopolized by certain people and their cronies who were making money out of the situation, while deliberately trying to tip the balance to one side that had a clear track record of denying the people of Bougainville the right to a democratic choice of their political future in the past.

"BRA therefore vows to closely monitor the situation, and unless we see that the real issue of referendum is being addressed properly with firm commitment from PNG, we will simply refuse to entertain any discussion on issues such as the weapons disposal, or even allowing the BIG/BRA leadership to participate in the coming peace talks," said Commander Ishmael.

According to the statement BRA soldiers were feeling very uneasy and boiling with deep anger, which could explode at any moment and this might prove to be very costly to the whole peace process.

"It is like a very dangerous rumbling volcano which I am trying to keep calm at the moment from exploding. I am therefore obviously under a lot of pressure from my soldiers who are not very happy with the way they see things going," Commander Toroama said.

For additional reports from The Independent, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Independent (Papua New Guinea).

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