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President Momis to attend ceremonial ritual

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 28, 2011) – The President of the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville says he expects tomorrow’s signing of the Konnou Agreement to follow ceremonial ritual.

John Momis says the signing, at the village of Mogoroi, marks the first truce between warring factions in the Konnou constituency.

The region has been shut off from government services for years because of fighting and criminal activities attributed to groups led by Damian Koike, who comes from Mogoroi.

President Momis says the area is the last part of south Bougainville to undertake reconciliation after the war on the island.

"They’re following a traditional ritualist ceremony. I haven’t seen any written, legal documents but I presume they will be following traditional, processes of reaching a truce, restorative justice phase and actual reconciliation."

President John Momis says he hopes his presence at the ceremony will signal the government’s commitment to peace in the area.

[PIR editor’s note: President Momis has said that ending the fighting between groups is a necessary step to bringing the province closer to a referendum of independence in 2015 from Papua New Guinea. Warring factions in Konnou have fought for years, and a major concern brought up by Momis has been the trauma suffered by the people involved in battle, particularly the young men to give them support and provide job training.]

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