The National , Monday, May 30, 2011
THE Autonomous Bougainville Government has denied it is “walking on a tight rope” as implied by the editorial of Post-Courier last Friday.
In a statement yesterday, Bougainville vice-president Patrick Nisira said: “The ABG neither is caught in any corner when dealing with its former combatants, there seems to be no real threat to its leadership, and the leadership does not see any dicey situations in Bougainville that it is unable to handle.”
He reaffirmed that the “freedom” enjoyed by Bougainville today belonged to all Bougainvilleans and not any particular armed group.
Nisira said although it was quite a difficult and risky task, the Konnou law and order situation was a priority of the ABG.
He said the autonomous government “is doing all it can to address the situation by encouraging reconciliation among the factions, bringing police closer to the people and with PNG government and aid donor agencies, bringing about development projects as requested by the local community”.
“All efforts are being made by the chiefs, church groups, peace committees, former combatants, public servants, national MPs and the member for Konnou in the ABG in their endeavour to put a halt to the senseless killings of 55 men, women and children by one Damien Koike in South Bougainville were made in consultation with the ABG and the council of elders of the area.
“Even the President, John Momis has had his own interventions with Koike,” Nisira said.
He said the situation in Konnou could have been addressed more speedily had the ABG engaged other armed groups which showed support for the ABG.
“However, ABG believes the barrel of the gun is not the answer to Konnou’s problems.
“Our policy with the remaining armed groups is “peace by peaceful means,” he said.
He said the ABG had established contact with Koike who had in turn expressed a desire to talk to the Bougainville government.
“I believe he is reasonable and sincere to work with me to find a solution to his problems.”