Solomon Islands Peace, Reconciliation Week To Go Ahead

Despite boycott from some provinces, ex-militants, apology program to proceed

By Eddie Osifelo

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, July 2, 2016) – The National Healing and Apology Programme will continue despite disagreements from provincial governments and certain ex-militant groups.

That’s according to chairman of the National Reconciliation Committee and government peace advisor, Fr John Ngalihesi.

“As far as I am concerned, the programme will continue, and it starts tomorrow (today),” Fr Ngalihesi told the Solomon Star yesterday.

Guadalcanal and Malaita provinces have publicly declared they’re not attending.

Fr Ngalihesi said he understands Guadalcanal’s bona fide demands are one of the issues that led to the ethnic conflict from 1998 to 2003.

However, he said it is time to reconcile and move on and in the process address the bona fide demands through the proper avenue.

Fr Ngalihesi said the healing and apology programme will begin with a musical concert today and tomorrow to promote the gospel of peace.

He said the march commences on Monday 4th July and with government reconciling with all the provinces and former combatants who are members of Solomon Islands Post Conflict Reconciliation Rehabilitation and Restoration Association (SIPCRRRA).

On Tuesday 5th, Fr Ngalihesi said SIPCRRRA will reconcile with all the provinces, national government and also with themselves.

SIPCRRRA is a group made up of former militants from Malaita and Guadalcanal.

“In particular, we are looking at SIPCRRA reconciling with Malaita, Guadalcanal and vulnerable part of society, women and children and victims,” he said.

On Wednesday 6th, he said the former MarauEagle Force will reconcile with the Guadalcanal province and also SIPCRRA Guadalcanal will reconcile with Melanesian Brotherhood.

“In the evening we will have ecumenical service which will be conducted by SICA, church leaders,political leaders,traditional leaders and rest of the community in Honiara will gather in prayer,” he said.

He said the programme run onto Thursday culminating with the Independence Day celebration.

He said the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare will deliver a speech on the topic of embracing peace for nation building.

The theme of celebration is “Peace Building and Reconciliation for nation building”.

It was in line with the Independence Celebration theme which is “embracing peace”.

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