Alluvial gold buying, the betelnut trade and even church crusades have been bringing people in and some of them haven’t returned home yet.
The islanders are fearful that a settlement might bloom on Bougainville, just like in the other provinces of Papua New Guinea.
Bougainville hardliners recently held an awareness at Arawa market on the subject. They talked about many outsiders (redskins) coming into Arawa and Bougainville for an event, and are still here long after the completion of their activities.
Concerned Bougainvillean, Jullian Jaavi, told Loop PNG that this trend has now gone worse, where those redskins are owning shops in Buka.
“If you’re here for work or to see relatives or to come and enjoy the beauty of Bougainville and go back, you’re most welcome to do so, but we do not want people just hanging around here, loitering. This is where crimes like stealing start,” Jaavi said.
The islanders are wary of what might follow suit if these outsiders are allowed to settle, especially in terms of law and order.
(James Onartoo from Bougainville hardliners during their awareness against ‘redskins’ at Arawa market. Picture courtesy of Clive Porabou)