Bougainville Updates

Vikki John VIKKI at lexsun.law.uts.edu.au
Fri Oct 4 11:32:32 MDT 1996


BOUGAINVILLE INTERIM GOVERNMENT - Press Release 3/10/96

Summary:
- BRA not interested in talking with Momis;
- Prisoners of War (not Hostages) situation waits Chan's response to conditions;
- Singirok lacks understanding of BRA cohesiveness in their struggle.

BOUGAINVILLE:  In a message sent from Bougainville today, BRA General Sam Kauona said on behalf of the BRA Seniors Commanding Officers (BRASSCO) that the Bougainville Revolutionary Army was not interested in talking with Mr John Momis, who is a Bougain

"We are not interested in talking with Momis.  Momis is a Bougainvillean, is part and parcel of the Bougainville conflict and is just as much a victim of this war like the rest of us.  We sent our conditions to the Chan Government not to MR Momis, and

"Furthermore the 5 PNG Security Force members are PRISONERS OF WAR and NOT "hostages", because they were captured during a battle.  It is normal practice to retain POW's for the duration of a war to prevent surrendered soldiers from returning to active

"The BRA Organisation is just like any other democratic body, and the BRA Senior Commanding Officers have been meeting now for two days to further strategise on the POW's situation.  We are a very united "cohesive" body having strengthened our resolve

"It fails me to see how General Singirok can quickly become an overnight "anthropologist" and talk of "factions" amongst the BRA forces."

"I want to remind Singirok that the Bougainville struggle is deeply rooted in all Bougainvilleans and something that he can't change if he wanted to.  He is making a foolish mistake to think that a democratic debate between the BRA Commanders and the C

"General Singirok lacks any understanding of the broad based support for both the Bougainville Interim Government and its Revolutionary Army.  It would be more helpful to the future of Papua New Guinea and Bougainville for Singirok to acknowledge that

"The withdrawal of PNG troops from Bougainville would herald a new freedom, not only for the 5 captured PNG soldiers but for all people caught up in this conflict", concluded General Kauona from his Command Post on Bougainville.  END

GOVERNOR SKATE CALLS FOR BOUGAINVILLE INDEPENDENCE
Post Courier - Tuesday 24 September, 1996

National Capital Governor Bill Skate has called for a national referendum on a political future for Bougainville.

Speaking at a Friday luncheon meeting with representatives of the business community last week, he said: "We must give people the right to choose their destiny, that is ultimately their right."

He urged the Government to seriously consider holding a referendum because for far too long numerous attempts have been made to solve the Bougainville crisis but none have succeeded.

He said: "We have been going around in circles on this issue for far too long.  We now need a fresh approach and quite frankly the old guard politicians, the former prime ministers and the current one have shown they have run out of ideas."

Mr Skate suggested that the referendum be conducted concurrently with the 1997 General Election to decide the issue of Bougainville independence.

The proposed approach he suggested is for the Government to work through a neutral party such as the Melanesian Council of Churches to broker an immediate ceasefire between the Bougainville Revolutionary Army and the government security forces.

The Defence Force and the Police would hold their current positions and any increase in border surveillance will be with the help of international peace keeping forces, he said.

Mr Skate said that during the ceasefire the Electoral Commission will organise a nationwide referendum.  He suggested that if the referendum returns more than 50 per cent of the country for Bougainville independence and 50-80 per cent Bougainvilleans a

He said that if that is their wish then under United Nations guidance and supervision independence should be granted following a three year period of self determination and after full democratic elections.

However, he said if at the 1997 elections more than 80 per cent of Bougainvilleans vote for independence, then immediately after, the United Nations must be invited to set up arrangements for self determination with independence to follow three years l

If however, more than 50 per cent of the Bougainville population at the 1997 election indicate they wish to remain a part of PNG then BRA be given one month to surrender their arms unconditionally after the vote is made known.

If the BRA refuse to surrender, this would then be treated as breach of law.  END.

BOUGAINVILLE FREEDOM MOVEMENT - MEDIA RELEASE
29 September, 1996

Summary:
- Bougainville Freedom Movement calls for Chan Government to act responsibly to Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) conditions of release of 5 captured Papua New Guinea (PNG) Security Force members;
- Calls for an initial withdrawal to Buka Island of all PNG military personnel on Bougainville;
- Open talks at forum to discuss Bougainville's future political status;
- POW release to come under a bi-partisan approach including international mediators.

SYDNEY:  The Bougainville Freedom Movement of Australia appeals to the Chan Government to act responsibly to the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) conditions of the release of the 5 PNG Security Force members captured during the battle of Kangu Bea

The Bougainville Freedom Movement urges the PNG Government to give "some ground" in ensuring the release of the 5 PNG Security Force members.  The PNG Government must share some responsibility for the current impasse.

This is not a time for "grand standing" or pride from either side.  If in the event that the lives of these men cannot be saved, then their blood will be on the PNG Government's hands as much as on those who have learned the art of "pay back killing" f

On two recent occasions captured PNG DF soldiers have not been harmed but were "allowed" to return safely to their own lines.  Unfortunately, the PNG Government failed to acknowledge how well they were treated in captivity and have thereby missed a vit

The current threats and house arrest conditions on the life of the Bougainville Transitional Government Premier, Mr Theodore Miriung, is further evidence that even the most loyal Bougainvilleans to the PNG Administration are unsafe while the PNG Army r

The BRA are waiting to see any evidence of whether PNG will ever investigate their own 75 cases of extrajudicial arbitrary and summary PNG executions that were pronounced "established cases" by the United Nations Special Rapporteur, Mr Bacre Waly Ndyae

The Bougainville Freedom Movement realises the extreme provocations under which the Bougainville Interim Government and the BRA have suffered.  We sincerely hope that this last resort of carrying out retaliatory threats can be withdrawn.

The Bougainville Freedom Movement calls on the PNG Government to:-

1) Initiate the immediate initial withdrawal of all PNG military personnel from all parts of Bougainville to the island of Buka, North Bougainville.

2) Open talks at a forum to discuss BRA's demand for the issue of independence for Bougainville.

3) To involve a bi-partisan body in the release of the prisoners of war and to involve international mediation such as the United Nations Envoy to the Secretary General, Dr Bhutros Bhutros Gali.

The Bougainville Freedom Movement welcomes the positive approach towards settling the Bougainville conflict taken by members of the PNG Parliament.  We also welcome the Opposition Leader, Mr Roy Yaki's repeated calls this week in Parliament for a bi-pa

CHAN REJECTS DEMANDS FROM HOSTAGE TAKERS
by Paul Ruffini in Port Moresby, Sydney Morning Herald 1/10/96

The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Sir Julius Chan, said yesterday he could not meet an ultimatum from Bougainville rebels who have threatened to start killing hostages today unless their demands are met.

The Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) commander, Mr Sam Kauona, first issued the threat against five security force hostages eight days ago, saying the rebels would kill one of their captives on October 1 unless the PNG Government agreed to withdra

The BRA leader warned that a hostage would be killed each day after that unless his demands were met.

However, Sir Julius, who returned yesterday from a trip to the United States, said he had no mandate to meet the demands and called on the BRA to show compassion for the prisoners.

"The question of independence, I don't have the mandate to consider that at all," Sir Julius said in his first public comment on the ultimatum.

"Bougainville is an integral part of this country, and that's it.  I again appeal to the good sense of those people, soldiers I suppose, to have certain codes of conduct on prisoners."

In Sydney, a spokesman for the BRA said Sir Julius was passing the buck on the rebels' demands.  "The silence on the situation is not going to give the PNG Government a clean slate," he said.

A team of negotiators trying to secure the prisoners' safety was due to return to Port Moresby yesterday after travelling to Bougainville last week.

The PNG Defence Force chief to staff, Colonel Jack Tuat, said it was unclear whether the rescue team, led by the Bougainville MP, Mr John Momis, had been able to meet BRA representatives in the island's south.

Sir Julius said he was taking the BRA threats seriously, and criticised international human rights organisations, which he said never complained when a PNG soldier was killed in the conflict.

"Where the hell are those buggers now"?" he asked.  "If Kauona says what he is going to do, what he said he was going to do, we have to take that very seriously."

It is unclear whether the BRA fighters who took the PNG security men hostage in southern Bougainville have turned them over to Kauona, who is based in central Bougainville.

The five were captured during fighting with rebels which left 11 security force members dead on the island's southern tip at the beginning of the month.  END.

------------------
Contact details:
email  v.john at uts.edu.au
Bougainville Freedom Movement
PO Box 134, Erskineville  NSW  2043 Australia +61-2-9558.2730
Moses Havini +61-2-98047602 Bougainville Interim Govt
Max Watts +61-2-98182343 Journalist specialising on Bougainville,
East Timor and West Papua


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