Bougainville Update - 20/6/96

Sasha Baer sashab at magna.com.au
Thu Jun 20 11:51:41 MDT 1996


Thursday 20th of June, 1996
===========================

There will be a protest outside the PNG Consulate (100 Clarence St) in
Sydney today at 12:30-1:30pm. The protest will be about the PNG Military
invasion on Bougainville.

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The Australian, June 19, 1996
=============================

VILLAGERS WARNED OF ATTACK ON B.R.A.

by Mary-Louise O'Callaghan, South Pacific correspondent

Papua New Guinea has doubled the number of troops on Bougainville and
ordered villagers in rebel strongholds to abondon their homes on the eve of
a major PNG Defence Force assault against the Bougainville Revolutionary Army.

An estimated 12,000 people are affected by the order, issued in the name of
the PNG Commissioner of Police, Mr Bob Nenta, and directed specifically at
those living around the abandoned Bougainville copper
mine that was operated by CRA until the secession crisis took hold in 1990.

The notice, which was broadcast in pidgin by a government-controlled radio
station at the weekend, warned villagers in the Panguna mine area and the
valley behind the Crown Prince Ranges, known as the Kongara, to quit their
homes or face being caught in "the crossfire".

"There will be a major operation to flush out these criminals who have
caused you to suffer... You must leave your homes quickly and move... as
soon as you have received this message," the eviction notice said in part.

The move follows the arrival of the 400 strong 1st Battalion of the PNGDF's
Pacific Island Regiment 1PIR), which is due to replace the 2PIR which has
been stationed on Bougainville for the past year.

Troops in the 2PIR, however, are expected to remain in their positions as
the new battalion pushes forward into the so-called "clean up" zone around
the Panguna mine and the valley leading down to the south-east coast, which
has been the rebels' heartland for most of the crisis.

It is not known how many people have responded to the evacuation order,
which also instructs people to join the 30,000 to 40,000 Bougainvilleans
living in government run "care centres" in the former provincial capital of
Arawa and several other sites in central Bougainville.

This latest attempt by PNG to crush the secessionist rebels, who have waged
a guerilla war since 1989, has been deplored by the Premier of Bougainville.

Mr Theodore Miriung, a former legal adviser to the BRA who came out of the
bush to assist with negotiating a peaceful settlement to the crisis, said
the PNG Government should not use any more violence.

"Enough people have already been killed," Mr Miriung said.  He also claimed
that the Government did not have the money to feed people in the care centres.

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Sydney Morning Herald, June 20, 1996
====================================

DOWNER CONDEMNS IMMINENT PNG WAR

By GREG ROBERTS

Amid indications that the biggest military offensive of the seven-year war
on Bougainville is imminent, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Downer,
has expressed concern at what he describes as a "disturbing development".

Mr Downer is understood to have conveyed Australia's concerns yesterday to
the Papua New Guinean Prime Minister, Sir Julius Chan.

An offensive involving more than 1,300 PNG troops and police will begin soon
in an attempt to eliminate the separatist Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA).

The BRA released a transcript yesterday of what it claimed was an
intercepted radio command to troops of the First Battalion of PNG's Royal
Pacific Islands Regiment, which is joining forces with the Second Battalion
in a bid to trap the BRA in its mountain strongholds.

It reportedly ordered troops to stand by for casualties, prepare to evacuate
the wounded and ensure a flow of supplies to "front-line" troops. Troops
were reportedly told to "get into areas as hard as you can" and to "shoot at
anyone you find in the jungle".

The office of the PNG Defence Minister, Mr Mathias Ijape, declined to
comment on the transcript.

A spokesman for Mr Downer said the Government did not believe there could be
a military solution to the conflict. "The Government is aware of indications
the PNG Government is planning a military offensive on Bougainville. If it
is true, it is a disturbing development," the spokesman said.

"The Government believes only a negotiated settlement can bring a solution."

Sir Julius declined to comment.

Responding to BRA allegations that the PNG military was preparing to use
Australian-supplied helicopters, motor launches and other military equipment
in the offensive, Mr Downer's spokesman said Port Moresby had given
assurances the equipment would not be used in operations on Bougainville.

As the PNG military imposed a ban on media reporting from the island
yesterday, the BRA General Commander, Sam Kauona, issued a statement saying
his men were preparing for the battle.

"The BRA welcomes the declaration of "all-out war' and is waiting to meet
the PNG forces," Mr Kauona said.

Mr Kauona said the offensive was designed to divert attention from the
economic, social and law-and-order problems that were "sinking" PNG.

The PNG Cabinet was briefed on the offensive by the military yesterday.

According to PNG Government sources, about 20,000 people have been forced to
leave their homes in potential combat zones to join an estimated 30,000
already in Government-controlled "care" centres.

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Title -- Ona's son hurt in Loloho shootout
Date -- 19 June 1996
Byline -- Timothy Masiu
Origin -- Nius Network
Source -- The National (PNG), 19 June 1996
Copyright -- The National
Status -- Abridged
-----------------
ONA'S SON HURT IN LOLOHO SHOOTOUT

By Timothy Masiu

KOKOPO: Rebel leader Francis Ona's son Stephen was seriously wounded in a
shootout with security forces last Friday which left two rebels dead at
Loloho, the army claimed yesterday.

A senior army officer said rebel radio communications intercepted by the
army indicated that Ona junior had suffered severe wounds n the hour-long
gunbattle and might die if he was not brought to proper medical care.

The officer said the army had sent word to the rebel stronghold in Panguna
for Ona to let his son come out of the bush for medical treatment.

Friday's exchange was unrelated to the weekend announcement of an army
offensive.

Security forces on Bougainville appealed yesterday to civilians in the
so-called "rebel controlled" areas to move to the nearest government
controlled care centres throughout Bougainville.

The killing of the two rebels and the wounding of Ona came as troops from
the two sister battalions, One and Two Pacific Islands Regiments, change
over from their tour of duties on Bougainville.

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Title -- Amnesty team on Buka mission
Date -- 19 June 1996
Byline -- None
Origin -- Nius Network
Source --The National (PNG), 19 June 1996.
Copyright -- The National
Status -- Unabridged
-------------------
AMNESTY TEAM ON BUKA MISSION

KOKOPOP: An international human rights team arrived in Buka last Saturday on
a fact-finding mission.

The Amnesty International team includes Australian Kerry Brogan, who is
based in London, and New Zealander Piripi Waretini, a legal aid officer with
the Maori Legal Services.

Amnesty's visit is being allowed in response to a United Nations Commission
on Human Rights' resolution urging Papua New Guinea to permit international
fact finding missions access to Bougainville to assist with the resolution
of the conflict.

The team is not being allowed to travel into mainland Bougainville.

It will carry out its work from Buka Island with people from the mainland
allowed to visit them if they wished to.

The team has already met senior officers from both the Bougainville
Transitional Government, the Administration and the security forces.

Ms Brogan and Mr Waretini will return to Port Moresby this Saturday and
submit a preliminary report to the government before leaving the country.

Meanwhile, Amnesty has said in its 1995 report that the government had
failed to explain disappearances and reports of extrajudicial executions on
Bougainville and in other parts of the country, an AAP report said.

Amnesty raised concerns about continued reports of torture and ill-treatment
by the PNG security forces.

It said it also remained concerned about reported killings and human rights
abuses carried out by the rebels.

Amnesty's report for 1995 also expressed concerns about the death sentence
imposed on rapist and murderer Charles Ombusu. The sentence was quashed by
the Supreme Court earlier this year.

"At least five people were believed to have been extrajudicially executed by
members of the security forces on Bougainville and in other areas of the
country," the Amnesty report said.

"The government failed to clarify previous 'disappearances' and
extrajudicial executions on Bougainville."

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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

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Regards Sasha

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



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