Bougainville Update - 9/6/96

Sasha Baer sashab at
Sun Jun 9 22:33:10 MDT 1996

Title -- BRA man reveals arms smuggling
Date --  8 June 1996
Byline -- Neville Togarewa
Origin -- "Nius" Network
Source -- Post-Courier (PNG), 7 June 1996
Copyright -- Post-Courier
Status -- Unabridged

By Neville Togarewa

A Bougainvillean - BRA commander Ishmael Roroama's boat operator - yesterday
appealed to the rebel leaders to put down their arms and save innocent men,
women and children from further unnecessary suffering.

And he confirmed that he and other boat operators made regular runs to the
Solomon islands to bring back medicine, guns and ammunition for the BRA,
assisted by the Solomon Islands Field Force and immigration officials at a
border check-point on Choiseul Island, about 50 km north-east of Buin.

Thomas Pinau, 42, married with four children  from Koaru village, Koromira,
made the appeal and the revelations at a press conference at the Granville
Hotel in Port Moresby.

A security forces small boat team patrol captured Mr Pinau during a similar
boat run in the Solomon islands last Friday. Mr Toroama and others who
crossed with him in two boats escaped capture. Defence Force forward
tactical commander Lt Col Yaura Sasa brought Mr Pinau to Port Moresby on

"I appeal to the leaders, [Joseph] Kabui, Francis Ona and other
Bougainvillean leaders ... I want to say what we are fighting for - to break
away (from Papua New Guinea) - will not happen. It is better for the leaders
to give themselves up to the Security Forces because they cannot break
away," Mr Pinau said.

He said the BRA no longer enjoyed widespread grassroots support and most of
mainland Bougainville was under the control of the Security Forces.

He said BRA leader Francis Ona, from Panguna, had benefitted from royalties
>from the mine and had not personally experienced the suffering felt by many

Mr Pinau said he had worked for Mr Toroama since 1993. He initially used a
boat which belonged to the Solomon Islands Christian Association (SICA) but
this was later replaced by another boat which, he said, Mr Toroama got from

He said he was asked to make one or two return trips a week from Aropa to
Choiseul to obtain medicine, get sick people to Choiseul or Gizo, and for
the rebels to do their shopping.

The boat normally carried about 12 passengers and was powered by two 40hp

Mr Pinau said SICA provided the medicine which they picked up from a
Catholic mission on Choiseul.

The medicine was for the rebels and not everyone in the BRA controlled
areas, he said, adding that he had witnessed mothers dying at child-birth
and children and many people suffering or dying from sickness.

Asked if he had brought back any guns or ammunition from Choiseul on one of
his trips there, Mr Pinau replied: "Plenty of times".

He said that in his last trip before his capture, for example, he brought
back a Russian sub-machine gun which he identified as an SK-47.  The BRA
bought most of their guns, especially shotguns and .22 rifles, from the
local Solomon Islands people, he said.

Sometimes, they bought guns from from foreign vessels passing through the area.

Mr Pinau said a gun, depending on the type and quality, would cost SI$1000
to SI$3000.

Asked where the rebels found the money to buy arms, Mr Pinau said Mr Ona had
given them a lot of money and at other times villagers contributed whatever
money they had to buy guns and ammunition.

Again asked to comment on claims by the Security Forces that a foreigner,
Clyde Wiseman, married to a Bougainvillean, was supplying Arms to the
rebels, he replied: "I don't believe he supplies guns. He stays with the
local people and grows rice."

Mr Pinau said the rebels had no problems commuting regularly between Aropa
and Choiseul. Every time they arrived, they reported back to the check-point
manned by members of the SIFF and Immigration officials who always let them

Mr Pinau also said the SIFF, while they checked personal luggage, did not
check cartons and never did a thorough check to find out if the rebels were
carrying arms.

He said he believed the fighting in Bougainville would not stop unless the
security forces captured the rebel leaders, especially the hardliners he
identified as "Ishmael, Tobias and Bobby in Buin and many others".

He also said the Solomon Islands government was prolonging the conflict by
providing easy access to the rebels.

Mr Pinau said he held the press conference to let the Solomon islands
government know that the rebels regularly crossed the border, adding they
must put a stop to cross-border movements.


Title -- Paying compo to Honiara
Date --  8 June 1996
Byline -- Editorial
Origin -- "Nius" network
Source -- Post-Courier (PNG), 7 June 1996
Copyright -- Post-Courier
Status -- Unabridged
Post-Courier editorial:

Solomon Islands Deputy Prime Minister Ranny Philip has come to the Losuia
summit of the Melanesian heads of government with a double mission.

Firstly, he is representing his government and taking part in discussions
about promoting healthier relationships between Melanesian governments and
their people.

Secondly, but more importantly as far as his government is concerned, is to
seek compensation from Papua New Guinea for alleged illegal acts committed
by men said to be members of the PNG security forces on Solomons soil.

Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan will listen sympathetically to Mr Philip and
what his government has to say.

But Sir Julius should not bow to any demand for compensation.

The Solomon Islands Government has a lot to answer for over the support and
help it has given to rebels in this conflict and for allowing its territory
to be used freely and extensively by the rebels.

Thomas Pinau, one of the closest aides to rebel commander Ishmael Toroama,
has now confirmed the extent to which the Solomons government has allowed
its territory to be used by the rebels.

Humanitarian support aside, rebels have been using the Solomon Islands to
smuggle high-powered firaerms and ammunition nto Bougainville to wage war
against PNG and kill many innocent people.

The Solomons government has never been open with PNG over this conflict and
has been evasive whenever an explanation was sought.

Honiara is not the innocent party of this conflict; it has played a major
part in allowing this conflict to go on for years and must be held
responsible for its part in that.


Contact Details:

Vikki John (BFM)     +61-2-558-2730   email: V.john at
Moses Havini (BIG)   +61-2-804-7602
Max Watts            +61-2-818-2343   email: MWATTS at
(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

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