On Friday, the former Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), Me’ekamui Government of Unity (MGU), Twin Kingdom Factions and the Me’ekamui Defence Force (MDF) signed an understanding to work together to pursue peace leading to the Bougainville referendum in 2019.
Picture above : Former BRA factions members (ex-combatants), womens reps and ABG representatives standing together to show their unification in working towards a peaceful process to referendum.
The meeting was conducted under the theme: ‘Re-Unifying Bougainville for a free and fair referendum.’
The factions met for four (4) days at the Goro Homes Village Resort in Arawa to recall the events that took place in Roreinang from the 25th – 27th of September 1997, which triggered the split in the BRA to different factions.
Those present at the meeting recalled the events of the ‘Roreinang Coup,’ especially;
- Gun fired in front of Francis Ona, Joseph Kabui, Sam Kauona, David Sisito, Jonathan Ngati, Andrew Miriki, Jacob Aroku, Bernard Tunim and David Onavui,
- Letter to Francis Ona from the BRA Commanders demanding him not to engage in activities that could jeopardise the ongoing Burnham Peace Talks,
- Letter from Francis Ona terminating BRA Commanders and Bougainville Interim Government (BIG) Members
- Split between Francis Ona and Joseph Kabui
- Split between BRA Company Commanders and ‘A’ Company.
The ex-combatants present at the meeting acknowledged their split and recognised the limited time they had available leading towards the appointed date of Bougainville’s referendum on June 15th 2019, thus making it their top priority to work together.
Picture above : Former BRA General, Sam Kauona (L) and former BRA ‘A’ Company Commander MDF General, Moses Pipiro shaking hands after signing the understanding to work together towards referendum.
The signed understanding was to reaffirm their commitment to pursue peace by all means and make aware the importance of the unification process.
It was also a commitment to continue to the best of their ability to resolve the issues that arose from the ‘Roreinang Coup’ and further commit themselves to work in partnership with the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the Bougainville Peace Building Program (BPBP) in moving the process leading to the Referendum and beyond.
The parties agreed that between May 15th – 17th, 2017, they will reconcile their differences through major reconciliation ceremonies to be held at Roreinang, Panguna and Arawa. The understanding was signed by Philip Miriori – Former Secretary, Supreme National Council (SNC), Ishmael Toroama – Former BRA Chief of Defence, Gunther Using – Twin Kingdom, Sam Kauona – Former General, BRA, Moses Pipiro – Former BRA ‘A’ Company Commander, MDF General, Co-Chairman, Roreinang Coup Committee, and David Sisito – Former BIG Defence Minister and was witnessed by Honourable Thomas Tari – Member House of Representatives (MHR), Veterans Member for South Bougainville, Honourable Noah Doko – MHR, Veterans Member for Central Bougainville, Honourable Ben Malatan – MHR, Veterans Member for North Bougainville, Honourable Albert Punghau, MHR, Minister for Bougainville Peace Agreement Implementation and James Tanis – Secretary Department of Bougainville Peace Agreement implementation.