This follows a ground-breaking mass reconciliation ceremony held at the Buleuko Catholic Parish last Thursday between former warring factions.
Former Members of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) and the Bougainville Resistance Faction that aligned with the PNG Army in the Bougainville uprising came together in solidarity to demonstrate their support for peace, come June 15, 2019 Referendum.
A weapon was handed over to local police authorities as a sign of good faith to the ongoing weapon disposal plans while a joint commitment agreement was also signed.
ABG Minister for Bougainville Peace Agreement and Implementation (DBPAI), Albert Punghau, said ABG has achieved a notable milestone that requires ongoing commitment by all Bougainvilleans.
He said some of the achievements were the setting up of the Bougainville Referendum Commission to manage the conduct of the 2019 Referendum.
“I am happy with the commitments of the PNG Government to agree to the terms and conditions of reference (TOR) of the Bougainville Referendum Commission. It shows maturity of the two governments to honour the BPA,” said Punghau.
He further stated that issues relating to voting age, voting eligibility of non-resident Bougainvilleans and the electoral roll update will be discussed when the two governments meet during the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) Meeting later this month.
Punghau told the people of Bana District that their commitment to peace was vital as it would determine a peaceful post referendum society in Bougainville.
The ceremony was attended by the Autonomous Bougainville Government ministers, Bougainville administration department heads, representatives of non-government organisations (NGOs), ex-combatants and community leaders.
(ABG’s DBPAI Minister, Albert Punghau, with a police officer showing one of the weapons that was handed over during the Bana Mass Reconciliation at Bolave last Thursday)