Bougainville Update - For Interest Persons

Vikki John VIKKI at
Mon Oct 14 17:55:22 MDT 1996

Bougainville Interim Government - Media Release, Sunday 13 October, 1996

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
 the assassination.

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.


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
the PNGDF.

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
on Bougainville."

"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
Bougainville.  END

LATE REPORT RECEIVED at 16.15pm, Monday 14 October, 1996

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.

Contact details:
email  v.john at
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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