Bird urges Sepik people to think of Bougainvilleans


EAST Sepik Governor Allan Bird has urged the Sepik people to think about the people of Bougainville who are preparing to hold a referendum to determine their future.
“We cannot talk about PNG independence without talking about Bougainville and what might happen if they choose to leave (PNG),” he said.
“More than 20,000 lives were lost during the conflict. We lost many soldiers and policemen in that war and many innocent Bougainvilleans lost their lives.
“Today nobody wants to talk about Bougainville. But on behalf of the Sepik people, I want to say to the people of Bougainville that Sepik has not forgotten you. We extend our hearts to you and we want to stand with you.”
Bird said PNG achieved independence 42 years ago without any bloodshed.
“Not one drop of blood was spilt. We had the full support of our colonial power Australia who agreed to give us independence without bloodshed,” he said.
“No one speaks of this tragic loss. It seems to me that the next election will probably result in thousands of deaths if we do not correct the problems in our society.”
Inter-government Relations Minister and Wewak MP Kevin Isifu and Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare attended the event at the Sir Michael Somare stadium.