Dennis Kuiai, acting secretary of the Department of Bougainville Peace Agreement and Implementation (DBPAI), said during a recent media conference in Buka that more former combatants have joined the community peace efforts – a positive move towards the conduct of the crucial Referendum set for 2019.
“Former combatants just like any other Bougainvilleans have the moral obligation to get rid of their weapons,” he said.
Kuiai stated it was important for a free and fair election come June 15th, 2019.
He said the commitment by ex-combatants to destroy their weapons is not only implementing the Bougainville Peace Agreement but also to build a peaceful society in Bougainville.
“The Me’ekamui faction headed by Moses Pipiro has also indicated to destroy their weapons by December 31st this year.”
Some of the achievements in peace initiatives were the Roreinang Village Reconciliation between former BRAs and Me’ekamui factions in May 2017, the Arawa ex-combatants unification, Bolave Constituency Referendum ready declaration in 2017, unification peace deal by factional leaders at the Nazarene Centre for Rehabilitation at Chabai, Hagogohe Constituency Referendum ready declaration, Selau Suir unification, Tinputz reconciliation, Siwai weapon disposal event in 2018, Haku reconciliation and unification event in 2018, Tonsu Constituency bones retrieval program in 2018, Makis peace initiatives and reconciliation and the Torokina reconciliation ceremony.
The Selau, Peit, Makis and Haku constituencies are also planning to hold reconciliation and weapon disposal ceremonies later this year.
ABG has put down December 31st this year for all the 33 constituencies to declare themselves referendum ready.
(Ex-combatants in Siwai District of South Bougainville destroy guns used in the 1990 Bougainville uprising – a gesture for peace)