The National, Wednesday 18 January 2012
By JUNIOR UKAHA
THE Correctional Services yesterday held a remembrance service to honour colleagues who died while on duty.
Acting Deputy Commissioner (operations) Michael Waipo said Jan 17 on the institution’s calendar was meaningful because it marked the day 22 years ago when four of their colleagues, an officer’s daughter and two civilians were killed when the Kuveria Jail came under attack from the Bougainville Revolutionary Army at the height of the Bougainville Crisis.
Waipo paid tribute to three serving female officers – Corps Edwick Mavack, Janet Chau and Mary Basi – who demonstrated bravery and courage by helping their male colleagues during the crisis.
“These officers needed to be commended for their services. We need to remember them because they are our friends and colleagues.”
Waipo, who himself is a survivor of the attack, recounted the event, saying: “We became aware of the attack when we heard rapid shots being fired from automatic weapons from the beach end of the prison.
“Despite the surprise attack we exchanged fire with the rebels until 3am.
“It was not until sunrise that we realised the full extent of the tragedy that had befallen us.”
John Skub, a survivor of the Kuveria attack who sustained pellet wounds to his chest and eyes, said he had no grudge against the Bougainvillians for what they had done to him.
He said they were only fighting for what was rightfully theirs.
He said as a State officer he followed orders to protect the interests of the State.
He said had the government been careful in handling the Panguna Mine issue, there would have been no bloodshed.
Pr Wilfred Gani of the Ela Beach Seventh-day Adventist Church, who gave a brief sermon, said what happened to the fallen officers was a show of love and sacrifice for their people and country.
The institute remembered around 100 other colleagues who died of other causes while on duty.