Pledge against arms

A joint agreement was signed between members of the PNG security forces and Bougainville veterans, pledging their commitment to not return to any armed conflict regardless of the referendum outcome.

It was signed in Vunapope, Kokopo, on Wednesday (Nov 6), upholding Melanesian cultural values and practices of brotherhood to sincerely declare they truly resort to reconcile with each other for the atrocities caused during the 1989 to 1997 Bougainville Crisis.

The parties pledged their commitment with collective responsibilities to implement the Bougainville Peace Agreement, affirming dual commitment to protecting the state and the freedom and rights of citizens.

By signing the agreement following the first phase of the symbolic pre-reconciliation exercise, they pledged to respect the outcome of the Bougainville Referendum and endeavour to see peace prevail.

PNG Defence Force Chief of Staff, Navy Captain Philip Polewara, signed on behalf of Brig. General Gilbert Toropo as Defence Force commander, while Ismael Toroama signed on behalf of the Bougainville veteran representatives.

This was witnessed by Retired Major General Jerry Singirok and Bougainville veteran Chris Uma, among others.

Sally Pokiton