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By Joseph Morokana
The people of the Bolave Constituency in the Bana District of South Bougainville have shown that they are ready to take part in the 2019 Referendum.
Their indication 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.
One weapon was also handed over to local Police Authorities as a signal of future promise to ongoing weapon disposal plans before 2019. They also signed a joint commitment agreement to further advocate solidarity and a peaceful society.
The ceremony was attended by Bougainville Autonomous Government Ministers, Bougainville Administration Department Heads, Representatives of Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), ex-combatants and community leaders.
There are two hundred ninety seven (297) reconciliations involving deaths and violence caused by the use of guns that are been solved in the District.
ABG Minister for Bougainville Peace Agreement and Implementation (DBPAI), Albert Punghau speaking at the event 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.
Punghau also said that issues relating to; voting age, voting eligibility of non –resident Bougainvilleans and the common 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.
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