Warring Highlands tribes sign peace agreement

National, Normal

THREE tribes from Bena Eastern Highlands ended their conflict  last Thursday with the signing of a peace agreement.
The Hofaga, Kapoguhi and Nayufa tribes signed the peace agreement witnessed by Unggai-Bena MP and Environment and Conservation Minister Benny Allan, Eastern Highlands provincial police commander Chief Supt Augustine Wampe, community leaders and tribesmen.
Mr Allan asked whether they were serious and heartedly wanted to end their conflict as they had selected
April 1 (April Fools Day) for the signing.
He said there were 17 tribal fights in Bena since 2002 and “this is the sad history”.
He urged leaders to seriously consider the future well-being of the Bena children and stop fighting, adding that he was happy with their decision to sign the agreement.
“Previous agreements signed in public places have been breached, therefore now we come to sign in hiding at the back of the provincial assembly building.
“When you sign the agreement, you want to end the fighting to start a new life. “We will initiate the firearms surrender to permanently cease the fighting.
“If we continue to keep guns, it is like a devil that will force you into fighting. Anyone in possession of guns is always tempted to fight,” Mr Allan said.
Chief Supt Wampe  urged the tribal leaders to always uphold the agreement they signed.
“Anyone seen breaching the peace accord to revive tribal fights will be dealt with by the police.
“I thank you for coming to sign the agreement, you must cooperate with the police to end the fighting once and for all,” he said.
Chief Supt Wampe, Mr Allan, community representative Auwo Ketauwo and three women representatives Helen Bare (Hofaga), Miti Soti (Nayufa) and SmetoTao (Kapoguhi) also signed.
Young men and community leaders from the three tribes signed the agreement prepared by legal adviser Michael Apei’i.
Spokesmen from the three tribes vowed not to take up arms again to fight because they wanted normalcy to return to their lives.