Call to dispose weapons


Bougainville must be totally free of weapons if it wants to meet the criterion of the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BDA) to establish a separate political entity come the referendum.
There is a school of thoughts by some Bougainvilleans that weapons should be kept as an insurance policy in case there is a problem regarding the proposed referendum to seek independence.
Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) President Dr John Momis, on the other hand, has assured Bougainvilleans that to meet the requirements of the peace agreement, people need to surrender weapons still in their possession.
“Weapons disposal is one of the three pillars of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, the weapons still out there disqualify us from achieving this very important requirement of the BPA,” he said.
“We do not need guns, what we need in Bougainville today is unity, unity is our most important asset.
“There has to be unity among the factions on Bougainville, among the leaders and, of course, the people of Bougainville.”
Momis said that Bougainville obviously had problems such as lack of capacity and  continuous financial hiccups caused by the national government’s refusal to fund the ABG. Unity remains the paramount issue on Bougainville, he said.
Momis’ call for a clean out of weapons on Bougainville is in line with the BPA, which clearly stipulates total weapons disposal.
Many argue that weapons on Bougainville was not an issue.
But Momis has always been consistent in reminding Bougainvilleans that the BPA was a legally binding contract that upheld the very essence of the ABG.

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