Sir Michael Somare in a statement said as Bougainvilleans make their voices heard in the Referendum, it is his hope that PNG remains “united and free” in the aftermath of this historic poll.
He said the referendum is a powerful vote and he urged Bougainvilleans throughout PNG and abroad to be aware that 21 other provinces remain silent but watchful as they vote for either greater autonomy or Independence.
The Bougainville conflict was the result of issues that were never satisfactorily addressed in relation to the Bougainville Copper mine.
The referendum, which is a pillar of the Peace Agreement, was signed to end the conflict and restore peace and force new pathways.
(File picture of Sir Michael Somare)