Bougainville Update - For Interest Persons
VIKKI at lexsun.law.uts.edu.au
Mon Oct 14 17:55:22 MDT 1996
Bougainville Interim Government - Media Release, Sunday 13 October, 1996
PREMIER THEODORE MIRIUNG OF THE
BOUGAINVILLE TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT (BTG),
IN PNG TRAGICALLY DIES AT HANDS OF ASSASSINS.
BOUGAINVILLE INTERIM GOVERNMENT (BIG) AND
BOUGAINVILLE REVOLUTIONARY ARMY DENIES ANY PART
IN THE KILLING OF PREMIER THEODORE MIRIUNG.
Bougainville: Premier Theodore Miriung, Head of the Bougainville Transitional
Government is dead.
Miriung was tragically assassinated in front of his family in their village of
Kapana in Siwai, South Bougainville while visiting his wife and family.
He died instantly from four gun shots in his back and chest at about 7pm on
Saturday, 12 October, 1996. His body is now in Buka, North Bougainville
where the headquarters of the BTG is, and where Mr Miriung was working from.
In a statement released from the Bougainville Interim Government (BIG) late last
night, the Head of the Bougainville Interim Government, Mr Francis Ona,
condemned the tragic killing of Mr Miriung, as a cowardice act and an attempt to
stall the peace process on Bougainville. Mr Ona also denied that any of his
Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) force members were involved in the
assassination, as it happened within the Papua New Guinea (PNG) controlled
area in the Siwai region.
The BRA Commander, General Sam Kauona also denied that the BRA forces
were involved in the assassination of Mr Miriung. Mr Francis Ona has now
called on Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan to confirm as soon as possible whether
members of the PNG security forces now on Bougainville were responsible for
During the launching of the military "Operation High Speed 2" in June 1996,
Miriung was at odds with the PNG Government's decision and stated publicly
that "it would fail". Mr Miriung was immediately put under "house arrest" by
the Papua New Guinea Defence Force in Buka, and the PNGDF claimed that it
was for his own security sake.
The Papua New Guinea Government again stepped up their mistrust of
Theodore Miriung recently when they accused him of "inciting the attack on the
PNGDF Kangu beach camp", South Bougainville on 8 September, 1996.
The Papua New Guinea Security Forces lost 13 men while 5 were captured
as prisoners of war. The Buka chiefs outraged at the accusation confirmed that
Mr Miriung was some 200 km from Buin and had nothing to do with the
Kangu beach attack.
The attack by the BRA on the Army base at Kangu beach was only after the
BRA and civilians were fed up with the continuous killings of civilians by the
PNGDF in South Bougainville. Three of the survivors of these indiscriminate
killings by the PNGDF were three (3) youths who are now recovering in the
Honiara Central Hospital, Solomon Islands from gun wounds.
BTG PREMIER THEODORE MIRIUNG ASSASSINATED
BIG/BRA REQUEST CHAN FOR SOME ANSWERS
The Minister for Defence Mr Mathias Ijape did go on record in the PNG
Daily newspaper, the Postcourier, "accusing Miriung of inciting" the
Kangu beach attack by BRA. And also said that he "would recommend to
the Prime Minister that Mr Miriung be sacked" as Premier of the
Bougainville Transitional Government.
Soon after this threat by Minister Ijape, Mr Miriung was once again
put under "house arrest" and restricted only to the Buka region by
During the Bougainville Inter-Church Women's conference in Arawa from
the 25-31 August, 1996, the PNG Security forces marched Mr Miriung at
gunpoint to the waiting helicopter and flew him back to Buka.
Causing such an embarrassment to PNG, the Minister for Provincial
Affairs, Mr Peter Barter had to personally escort Mr Miriung back to
the Women's Inter-Church Conference, which was attended by more than
700 women from all over Bougainville.
"Although we were disappointed with Mr Miriung leaving the
Bougainville Interim Government in 1994 to form the Bougainville
Transitional Government (BTG) with Chan under the "Mirigini Charter",
we soon recognised that this was one path and an avenue towards peace
"Because of this the BIG and BRA fully supported Miriung's efforts,
dropping all doubts about his intentions. We then fully co-operated
with him and PNG to forge a peace process between PNG and
Bougainville. The evidence of this was our full co-operation during
the Cairns Peace Negotiations in September and again in December
"What was the motive behind the killing of Mr Miriung? The
assassin's motive strongly points towards two factors; Miriung's hard
stand against the "military solution" by PNG on Bougainville and
the stalling of the current Peace Process, of which Mr Miriung was
the "thin" link between the BIG/BRA and the Papua New Guinea
Government", said Mr Francis Ona from Bougainville.
It was also reported that since the Kangu battle on 8 September,
1996, the relationship between the PNGDF and the pro-PNG resistance
in South Bougainville had soured due to indiscriminate killings of
civilians and sexual harassment, rape of Bougainville women in the
South Bougainville care centres.
Reports reaching the BIG from Bougainville in the last 24 hours said
that there were skirmishes between the PNGDF and the Resistance since
Wednesday last week. A vehicle owned by government forces and one
automatic rifle were captured and given to the BRA forces of South
LATE REPORT RECEIVED at 16.15pm, Monday 14 October, 1996
>FROM SOUTH BOUGAINVILLE
The team that killed Theodore Miriung fled in the direction of the
PNG Security Forces camp. Having gone some kilometres, they fired a flare
into the sky and were picked up thereafter by an ambulance and brought to the
Army Camp. This ambulance has been used for sometime by the
Papua New Guinea (PNG) Army. END.
email v.john at uts.edu.au
Bougainville Freedom Movement
PO Box 134, Erskineville. NSW. 2043 Australia. +61-2-9558.2730
Moses Havini +61-2-9804.7602 Bougainville Interim Government
Max Watts +61-2-9818.2343 Journalist specialising on Bougainville,
East Timor and West Papua.
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