Bougainville Update - 3/6/96

Sasha Baer sashab at wr.com.au
Tue Jun 4 01:36:50 MDT 1996


Title -- Miriung needs prayers
Date --  30 May 1996
Byline -- Editorial
Origin -- Asia-Pacific Network
Source -- Post-Courier (PNG), 29 May 1996
Copyright -- Post-Courier
Status -- Unabridged
-------------------
EDITORIAL: MIRIUNG NEEDS PRAYERS

North Solomons Premier Theodore Miriung has taken a courageous step by
venturing into the jungles of Bougainville to negotiate the release of the
priest and soldier held captive by rebels.

Mr Miriung is on a mission that poses grave risk to his own life as well as
those travelling with him.

He needs the prayers of all Papua New Guineans to take him through this trip
safely.

It is important that Mr Miriung establishes personal contact with the rebels
although this is perhaps not the best way to do it.

But he is doing so out of his personal conviction to see peace return to
Bougainville without trust between leaders and the people.

Since the lifting of the ceasefire by Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan,
Bougainville leaders on both sides of the conflict have not been able to
restablish contact and continue peace talks.

Mr Miriung and other leaders of the war-torn province are hoping for a
miracle + that something would happen to enable them to reestablish contact
and start talking peace once more.

The peace mission into the jungle is dangerous and one which only a leader
of Mr Miriung's conviction can take on. It is a sign of a true leader in
search of genuine peace for his people.

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Title -- Premier in hunt for hostages
Date --  30 May 1996
Byline -- Walter Darius
Origin -- Asia-Pacific Network
Source -- Post-Courier (PNG), 29 May 1996
Copyright -- Post-Courier
Status -- Abridged
-----------------
PREMIER IN HUNT FOR HOSTAGES

By Walter Darius

Premier Theodore Miriung has headed into the jungles of Buin and Siwai in
South Bougainville to try to negotiate the safe release of a Catholic priest
and a Defence Force soldier.

Mr Miriung left his office in Buka on Friday with a small delegation of
village chiefs and government officers.

He was confident of finding Father Chanel Pinoko and Sergeant Samuel Petueli
alive and well and of getting them released without further conditions by
BRA leaders.

The pair were seized on March 17. Last night, BRA sources said they would
not entertain any plans to release Sergeant Petueli (they have maintained
they are not holding Father Pinoko against his will).

They have not been told of Premier Miriung's peace patrol to negotiate.

"No-one will release a soldier or listen to Mr Miriung so long as demands
put forward are not met," said a source close to BRA members.

The BRA is demanding total withdrawal of the security forces from
Bougainville and removal of an alleged death "hit list" on BRA leaders.

Acting Premier Thomas Anis said: "We are committed to ensuring the safe
release of these two men and to continuing open negotiation with our BRA
colleagues for lasting peace on Bougainville."

Mr Anis said it would be "most unethical" of BRA rebels if Father Pinoko and
Sergeant Petueli were killed or harmed.

BRA leaders themselves had given the BTG and people of Bougainville an
undertaking that they would no longer try to kill any more people.

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SYDNEY MORNING HERALD - Friday 31 May, 1996
===========================================

PNG TROOPS MURDERED CHILDREN: REPORT

by Greg Roberts

Babies and young children were among more than 60 Bougainvilleans killed by
Papua New Guinean troops and their allies in non-combat situations on the
strife-torn island during the past 12 months, according to a report to be
released today.

The report claims Australian supplied Iroquois helicopters have been used in
several military assaults on villages, despite Canberra's insistence that
they not be used in combat.

The report, 'A Compilation of Human Rights Abuses Against the People of
Bougainville', was published by the Bougainville Freedom Movement in Sydney,
which supports the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA)
in its guerilla war for independence.

It is not possible to obtain independent corroboration of many of the
report's claims because the PNG forces tightly restrict access to Bougainville.

However, diplomatic sources in Port Moresby and Honiara confirmed the
substance of some of the more serious allegations, for which the report
provides details of dates, places and victims' names.  The
sources said the BRA was also guilty of human rights abuses.

The PNG High Commission in Canberra and the Defence Ministry in Port Moresby
declined to respond to the allegations.

Military conflict on the island has escalated since the PNG Prime Minister,
Sir Julius Chan, ended a ceasefire in March, declaring the BRA's "darkest
hour had come".

According to an order circulated by Bougainville military commanders last
month, PNG soldiers were to kill "without question" any civilians suspected
of harbouring the BRA, and the aim of a new offensive was to "wipe out" the
rebels.

The detail of some incidents in the report is based on interviews with
wounded Bougainvilleans in hospitals in the neighbouring Solomon Islands.

Peter Naurai, 16, said 10 civilians were massacred in a military attack on
Simbo village, in the Buin District, on February 2.  One had been a pregnant
woman, Mary Kugunei, 24, whose foetus had been cut from her womb and left on
her chest.  In another attack on that village a week earlier, 12 people were
allegedly killed, including eight children aged 16 and under.  They included
an eight month old baby and an infant aged 18 months.

The report names 59 people killed over the past year in non-combat
situations and claims others were murdered in attacks on villages suspected
of harbouring the BRA.  Another 41 civilians named were allegedly beaten,
tortured or wounded by troops and pro-PNG Bougainvilleans.

Many victims were reportedly tortured before being executed.

Two men, John Nomoka, 24, and Daniel Maisimam, 20, were said to have been
forced to eat sand before they were shot.  In another case, Joseph Monate
reportedly had 10 centimetre nails driven into his elbows, knees and ankles
but survived.

The most recent alleged  civilian casualties were Anthony Kaima, 26, a
Catholic Church worker and John Disin, 40, shot dead on May 13.

The report details alleged abductions and unlawful detentions, the burning
and looting of villages and property, rapes and "sexual favours" demanded in
exchange for soap and other items, the harassment of Church officials and
numerous instances of forced hard labour.

It alleges offences against Bougainvilleans in other countries, including
the leading separatist Mr Martin Miriori, who survived an arson attack in
February on the building where he was staying in the Solomon Islands
capital, Honiara.

Mr Miriori has since fled, with Australian Government assistance, to the
Netherlands.

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THE WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN - 1-2  June 1996
=======================================

DEADLINE DAY FOR HOSTAGE

by South Pacific correspondent, MARY-LOUISE O'CALLAGHAN

The fate of a Papua New Guinean soldier held hostage on Bougainville hangs
in the balance today and with it the immediate direction of the war on PNG's
breakaway province which has continued  to escalate since
the collapse of a ceasefire two months ago.

The Bougainville Revolutionary Army set today as the deadline for its
demands of immediate independence and the withdrawal of all PNG troops from
the island if Sergeant Samuel Petueli is to be released alive.

The 37 year old career soldier from Misima island was kidnapped unarmed
while on a peace mission in southrern Bougainville a fortnight ago.

The PNG Prime Minister, Sir Julius Chan, while initiating negotiations for
Sergeant Patueli's release, has ruled out bargaining with the rebels.

Senior BRA sources in the neighbouring Solomon Islands confirmed yesterday
that they expected the Australian trained soldier would be killed when the
BRA's demands go unmet.

Although the PNG Defence Force's response so far has been measured, there
are concerns that retaliation from the troops, most of whom have been
stationed on the island for almost a year, would be swift.

Non-BRA sources speaking from Arawa, the former provincial capital of
Bougainville said this week that the PNGDF personnel were already holding
some relatives of key BRA personnel as they await the fate of
their comrade.

A sister of a BRA regional commander, Mr Ishmael Toroama, and her husband
have already been co-opted as go-betweens in the army's efforts to negotiate
the sergeant's release.

The commander of the PNGDF, Brigadier-General Jerry Singirok, told the
Weekend Australian yesterday that a military operation to try to rescue
Sergeant Petueli would be mounted only as a last resort.

He also conceded that the exact whereabouts of Sergeant Petueli was in some
doubt as the rebels were moving him around the interior of the island to
minimise the chances of attack.

The PNG Government is relying on the good offices of a former BRA legal
adviser, Mr Theodore Miriung, who is now the premier of the Port Moresby
backed Bougainville Transitional Government, whom they sent into Arawa this
week to try to negotiate Sergeant Petueli's release.

Mr Miriung is a former national court judge who last year managed both to
persuade the Prime Minister to allow peace talks to continue outside PNG and
to convince senior rebel leaders such as "General" Sam Kauona and Mr Joseph
Kabui to leave Bougainville to take part in talks that were eventually held
in Cairns last December.

His efforts this week on Bougainville are something of a wild card which
just may have the potential to bring about a sea change in the in the
direction of Bougainville policy if he can negotiate the hostage's release.

The chances for that depend on the level of trust that the BRA leadership
have in him.  Mr Miriung has condemned the kidnapping as immoral and sent a
message to the militants that they should not adopt terrorist tactics if
they want to secure peace for Bougainville.

Progress in resolving the hostage crisis is being watched closely in the
neighbouring Solomon Islands where border incursions by armed PNG citizens
have become regular since the lifting of the ceasefire on
Bougainville, which shares a water border with the Solomons' Western and
Choiseul provinces.

Senior PNG officials expressed disappointment this week when the Solomon
Islands Government effectively withdrew from talks aimed at finalising a
proposed borer treaty designed to improve the policing of legitimate border
crossings.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE AUSTRALIAN - Monday, 3 June, 1996
=====================================

SOLOMONS SOUGHT HELP AFTER PNG INCURSIONS

by South Pacific correspondent, MARY-LOUISE O'CALLAGHAN

The Solomon Islands asked Australia to assist in transporting troops to its
border after a Papua New Guinean patrol boat fired onto a Solomon Islands
village in a weekend of repeated border incursions by
the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.

The Solomon Islands' request to Canberra on Saturday followed the worst
border incident since 1992 when a cross-border raid by PNGDF troops left two
Solomon Island citizens dead.

The Government is believed to have viewed the incident as a serious
deterioration in security along the Solomon Islands-Bougainville (PNG) border.

Approval was given for the HMAS Bendigo, an Australian patrol boat currently
visiting the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara, to be used to transport
members of the Solomon Islands Police Field Force.

However, the Solomon Islands withdrew the request when it was found that
in-country charter flights were available to move the troops more rapidly to
the border, a Solomon Islands source confirmed yesterday.

The decision to send reinforcements came after three separate weekend border
incursions by PNGDF craft.

The most serious was by an Australian-donated, PNGDF patrol boat 02, which
Solomon Islands authorities say fired upon the village of Liuliu in Choiseul
province on Saturday morning.  No one was injured.

The PNG Prime Minister, Sir Julius Chan, admitted last night that the PNGDF
had crossed into Solomon Islands territory on the weekend, but he said he
believed it was in hot pursuit of rebels from PNG's
breakaway province of Bougainville.

"I know there has been an incident but I think it is in some sort of hot
pursuit," he said.

Senior PNG government sources said last night that the PNG security forces
were assisting members of a resistance group to pursue a Bougainville rebel
military commander, Mr Ishmael Toroama, whom they
believed had crossed into the Solomon Islands to collect medical and other
supplies.

They also claimed Solomon Islands authorities were aware of these plans.

The Solomon Islands Government yesterday protested in the "severest terms"
to Port Moresby, accusing PNG of "provocative, aggressive and posturing
armed harassment", and demanded compensation for damage done to border
villages during the incidents.

There have been an escalating number of border incursions by armed Papua New
Guineans in the past two months since the lifting of a ceasefire on
Bougainville, which shares a water-border with the Solomon Islands.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

BOUGAINVILLE - MEDIA RELEASE - Monday 3 June 1996
=================================================

Combined PNGDF and PNG armed Resistance weekend border raids; PNG
international border violations and bombardment of Solomon Islands village;
Attack on Bougainville Interim Government (BIG)  medicine boats, wounding
and disappearance of boat captain; Pursuit of BRA field commander Ishmail
Toroama not true.

BOUGAINVILLE:  The combined PNGDF and resistance border raids into the
Solomon Islands over the weekend have led to more violations and killing by
PNGDF and its resistance forces within the Solomon Islands territory.

The PNG armed local Resistance attacked the Bougainville Interim Government
medicine boats as they were returning from the first run of badly needed
medicine into Bougainville.  Confirmed reports received from Bougainville
sources in the Solomons stated that on Friday 31 May, 1996, Mr Neta Kompita
and his gang armed with high powered guns, intercepted the boats as they
were returning to Taro, then to Moli where they were attacked.

The medicine boats and the crew were not armed.  While the rest of the boats
crew were able to escape the driver of one boat, Thomas Pinaun could not run
because he had been shot in the thigh. The Resistance group led by Neta
Kompita then took the injured Thomas Pinaun, two boats and 4 engines and
sunk the 4 engines in the sea. The 2 boats were however later found drifting
on the sea and retrieved, but the fate of Thomas Pinaun is still unknown at
this stage.

Neta Kompita and his gang were also involved in recent incidents where they
held unarmed Solomon Islands citizens at gun point and stole a number of VHF
radios, being property of the Solomon Islands Government.  These radios were
later confirmed to be located at Loloho and Taurato Island army bases.

The Bougainville Interim Government also denied that BRA Commander Mr
Ishmael Toroama was across the Solomon Islands border to supposedly bring
back an Australian Technician into Bougainville.

"Mr Toroama was once again, conveniently used as an "excuse" by Prime
Minister Sir Julius Chan for the PNGDF and the Resistance to carry out their
planned border raids and naval bombardment within the Solomon Islands
territory.  Early in March this year, Sir Julius Chan also lied to the press
that Mr Toroama had been wounded in Buka, and that he was on his way to the
Solomon Islands for medical treatment. None of these statements are true",
said Mr Moses Havini.

The PNGDF used an Australian supplied patrol boat 02, confirmed by the
Solomon Islands Authorities during their cross-border raid.  The PNG patrol
boat fired into a village in Choiseul Province called Liuliu on Saturday
morning June 1, 1996, and although no one was injured the village people
were unduly terrorised. Mr Havini said things are now very tense.

Two prominent Bougainvillean humanitarian workers based in the Solomon
Islands have also received death threats and the Solomon Islands Police are
taking this matter very seriously.

For further information, please contact Moses Havini (61-2) 804.7602

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Contact Details:
================

Vikki John (BFM)     +61-2-558-2730   email: V.john at uts.edu.au
Moses Havini (BIG)   +61-2-804-7602
Max Watts            +61-2-818-2343   email: MWATTS at fisher.biz.usyd.edu.au
(Journalist specialising in Bougainville, East Timor and West Papua issues)

Bougainville Freedom Movement
P.O. Box 134, Erskineville, NSW 2043, Australia

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Regards Sasha

Sasha Baer
International Amateur Radio Network
Bougainville Freedom Movement
Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol
Voicemail: +61-2-513-5614
sashab at wr.com.au
http://www.wr.com.au/sashab/



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