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Rebels & PNG military to reconcile 20 years after civil war ends

Ruins of Arawa Hospital in 1997 (AFP)RADIO NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL

PLANNING is underway for reconciliation between the Papua New Guinea Defence Force and members of the former Bougainville Revolutionary Army.

The armies opposed each other during the 10-year long Bougainville civil war which ended nearly 20 years ago.

Now, with the Autonomous Region preparing for a vote on possible independence from PNG, the Bougainville parliamentary referendum committee wants the former warring groups to reconcile.

Committee chair, Joseph Watawi, sais the plan is backed by PNGDF commander Brigadier General Gilbert Toropo and former BRA leader Sam Kauona.

Mr Watawi said reconciliation is vital for the future of Bougainville.

"It is a must that this reconciliation take place,” he said, “and I guess it is an act to ensure that the peace is sustained.

“It is also part and parcel of the spirit and the letter of the Bougainville Peace Agreement."


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