Ex-combatant says Koike allegedly lead criminal acts

Islands, Normal

The National , Tuesday, May 31, 2011

ONGOING criminal acti­vities in the Konnou constituency of South Bou­gain­ville have now spilled into the Kokoda district in Central Bougainville, former commander of Wissai Liberation Movement (WILMO) commander Philip Pusua said.
He said criminal activities allegedly led by former combatant Damien Koike had increased to such a degree that civi­lians “are being forced to pick up arms to protect themselves”.
“Koike and his men are using boats to call in at certain locations in the Laluai to Arawa segment of the highway, setting an am­bush and patrolling to shoot down former WIL­MO members,” he said.
Pusua challenged the South Bougainville lea­ders and ABG to take immediate action.
He warned if no action was taken, more lives would be lost and the blood of the deceased would be on the hands of leaders.
“We, the leaders from Konnou and Wissai, will petition the ABG to en­gage a neutral force to address the lawlessness in our area,” Pusua said.
He said there was no po­litical agenda in the Konnou conflict and the murdering of men, women and children and the confiscating of land by force from the landowners were criminal offences and hu­man right abuses.
Pusua said he had re­voked resolutions reach­ed by South Bougainville leaders at a peace meeting on May 21 in Buin.
He said the meeting en­dorsed Buin peace team to approach Koike through peaceful negotiation to find a lasting solution for the Konnou conflict.
He said he revoked the South Bougainville lea­ders resolution because: 
* Buin peace team en­dorsed by southern lea­ders was not neutral; 
* Buin team failed to get Koike from Tonu and repatriate him to his home village at Mohoroi in the Konnou area, instead he alleged team members sent Koike to Wissai by supplying him with equip­ment for processing gold to buy bullets and weapons to kill landow­ners on their own land in the Wissai area;
* The Buin team had helped Koike buy an outboard motor which en­abled him to move around and conduct criminal acti­vities in Bougainville and Solomon Islands.