Bogia-Manam peace talks off

Momase, Normal


THE proposed peace ceremony between the Suaru villagers of the Bogia district and the Manam islanders will not go ahead as several issues are yet to be solved.
The peace process was initiated after a fight between the two groups in January over the death of an old man.
Many people were homeless while several lives were lost in the tribal fight which forced Manam islanders to return to their island from the care centres in Bogia district on the mainland.
Early this month, Madang provincial government gave K36,648 to the people of Manam to reconcile and make peace with the Bogia people.
The money was drawn from the Manam disaster trust fund and presented to Manam local level government president Lawrence Kunoka.
The Manam people had been seeking peace and reconciliation with the mainlanders for some time, but a peace ceremony would probably take place next year.
The people of Suaru had claimed that they could not hold the ceremony until a few things were ironed out.
Village leader Paul Robby said his people were not ready for peace talks until the government honoured a commitment it had make to them.
“The government must resettle us first because many people were displaced after the fight,” Mr Robby said.
He said his people were happy with the response from the Governor, but bureaucrats were delaying the rehabilitation programme.
“My people are not happy with the provincial disaster and the district service senior government officers who had not followed directives from the governor,” he said.
Governor Sir Arnold Amet presented the money earlier, hoping that peace would be
concluded by the end of the year.