(LOOP PNG) – A consultative Committee for missing persons has now been set up on Bougainville following the Bougainvie Executive Council passing the policy in 2014.
It is also historical because it is the first time now for Bougainville-based ex-Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) soldiers, the ones who served on Bougainville are involved.
A consultation workshop on missing persons was held on June 21, 2016 with the theme “(Dead or alive) Leave no Bougainvillean out.”
It was attended by all stake holders namely: ICRC, PNG Red Cross, BPBP, Bougainville veterans association, Bougainville based former PNGDF, Mekamui, Bougainville women’s Federation, Families of the Missing, Buin Peace Volunteers, Bougainville Council of Churches,Bougainvile Police Service and the Ministry of Refefendum,Veterans ,Affairs and Peace. And most importantly the representatives of the families of the missing.
After various presentations by stakeholders at the Consultation workshop, a main presentation as done by the peace office on awareness on Missing persons.
Secretary for the division of autonomy and former ABG president James Tanis speaking at the workshop said the issue of missing persons cannot escape.
“Especially the emotions of those that are still alive dead or alive we should not leave any Bougainvillean out of this whole process,” Tanis said.
The workshop also discussed and highlighted the need to dig up mass graves and also DNA to match whose relative had been dug out.
An election was also conducted and executives of the Consultative Committee for Missing persons (BCCM) were selected and more surprisingly now it’s been chaired by a woman.
The chairperson is now Josephine Kaona Deputy is Bosco ragu (EXDF) and the technical secretary is Ignatius Sapolo (EXDF/Resistance).
The first meeting of the committee outlined how the committee will work and consult with people, and the next meeting is scheduled today and Friday in Arawa.
Meanwhile, there is now a call to all peace negotiators, mediators and advocators not to commercialise the whole process, especially dealing with the remains of human beings.
Mekamui representative Aloysius Gaveua informed Loop PNG that in Panguna this is now becoming a habit for a lot of people who becoming mere opportunists.
“The lust for money has now blinded a lot of us here on Bougainville to commercialise everything we do including the peace process, and now a clear example are the remains of the late Anthony Anugu that is buried up somewhere in Panguna,” Gaveua said.
“This is a very sensitive issue and nobody still knows the whereabouts of late Anugu’s remains are but only Moses Pipiro, our Mekamui Defence Force Commander, knows the person who knows, but a lot of people are lying saying they claim they know the whereabouts, but are demanding money before they reveal the location but these are just lies,” he said.
“Just people looking for money and are trying to commercialise it,” Gaveua said.
“We really need to do away with this kind of mentality its making the society sick and at the end of the day those who are doing it will paint a bad reputation on us all,” he said.
He added that in the name of peace everybody needs to be committed with their hearts and must not be blinded by money.