Everyday People PNG: Ishmael Toroama

Back when I was a student, I used to buy ‘Commando’ comics to read and that became my interest.

One of the comics I read was about British Special Forces who said of a commander who had rescued high-ranking officials: “If only we have such people like him, we will win the war”.

This stirred me up and became a driving force in me.
I was working when the Crisis erupted, so I went and joined Francis Ona. In the early days, after two years, I was the main man behind Ona. I was one of his bodyguards; that was when we were fighting with the security forces. When they move in one direction, we move Ona the other way.

In 1990, I participated in the “Endeavour Accord” where leaders met for discussions on return of services to Bougainville.

In 1994 I participated in the regional peace talks in Arawa. 
In 1995 I went down to Cairns during the period of blockade. It was just to open the door. Our team leader was the late Joseph Kabui. That was when we were ambushed at the border but we made it through safely.

All of these incidents or events were just stepping stones towards the real activity.

- Ishmael Toroama, President of Bougainville, former Bougainville Revolutionary Army Militia Commander.

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