BAKA BARAKOVE BINA
Operesin Kisim Bek Lombo: The one operation that the Sandline operatives did not make, by Baka Barakove Bina, CreateSpace, December 2019, 364 pp. ISBN-10: 1974332365. Paperback $US14.50. Kindle e-book $US5.00.
Available here from Amazon Books
PORT MORESBY - I was just getting off the bus to go into Murray Barracks when that first bullet whistled across from the army base and into the Foodland shop at Three Mile.
I immediately joined a group of people cowering in a drain, peeking out occasionally and expecting soldiers to come storming out.
Meanwhile the police had graciously pulled back to the Sir Donald Cleland public swimming pool in order not to escalate the situation.
After two hours of drain hugging, I extricated myself and walked into Murray Barracks.
Over the next four weeks, from all manner of people, I heard one story after another, no two the same, all of which just added to my confusion.
I heard stories walking with the crowd and stories from men clustered around buai stands, chewing nuts and spitting out red sputum. They enjoyed retelling titbits they had heard from someone else.
They talked of these strange happenings and tried to connect them to get a clear picture of the situation. There were, as you’d expect, a lot of embellishments. Clarity was nowhere to be seen.
Indeed, some of the tales were so outrageous they belied all reasoning and I took them with a bit of salt and stored them somewhere in the recesses of my mind.
As things unfolded, however, I began to think that these improbable stories might be possible. And it was so, some of the craziest and most unlikely stories I heard around the buai stands turned out to have substance and, eventually, many of us believed the impossible had actually happened.
Some were really crazy stories like freshly harvested bunches of betel nut hanging out on the patapata early in the morning will give chills to people.
And localised gusts of wind that snap off healthy tree branches will make you look over your shoulder.
While, for some people, these events were evidence of supernatural powers at work, they were of little or no concern to the recipients of the betel nuts or the person who lived with the downed tree branches. They simply took it all in their stride.
The betel nut on the patapata was a routine thing for them. Just calling cards to show that the relos from back in the village had come and gone.
Meanwhile, other outrageous stories doing the rounds featured supernatural powers including the Ghewos from the Wesan area of the Ramu River valley.
These were powerful puripuri men whom, it was said, the army had brought into the scheme of things during the last two weeks of rebellion.
And other strange stories told of various powers being solicited from throughout the country - walking carvings, time travelling women, dukduks and, stranger still, the E’hahos.
I initially believed these stories were hogwash – because, as a former military man, I could not believe the army would entertain such notions.
As I battled to complete my own telling of how we got rid of the Sandline mercenaries, however, I encountered so many twists and turns and so many different plots that I had to think did these crazy stories really happen?
Did the army actually harness the powers of the supernatural at that time? I had to expand on this idea of finding betel nut bunches on the patapata, broken tree branches, time travel and the birds…. These story tellers could not stop talking about the birds
In the end, having listened to all the kohn but probable stories told by those who alleged they were inside it all, I felt obliged to share them in Operesin Kisim Bek Lombo – a potpourri of ideas, plots and stories about the Sandline affair which I started in 1997 and, 22 years on, in 2019, have published.
Other books by Baka Barakove Bina
Zymur - A short story published by Oxford University Press. A revised version will soon be available on Amazon
Haffies Are Made, They are Not Born - A self-published novelette available on Amazon
Curse of the Lamisi - A self-published novella available on Amazon
Sweet Garaiina Apo - A self-published novel available on Amazon
Man of Calibre - A novel available on Amazon. Winner of 2015 Ok Tedi Book of the Year in the Crocodile Prize
Antics of Alonaa Vol 1 - An anthology of six short stories available on Amazon
Musings of Sogopex - An anthology of 15 short works (short stories, poems and adages) with contributions from Emily Sakepe, available on Amazon
A Farmer Buys a Wife - a novel about how marriage was arranged in times gone in the Goroka area of the Eastern Highlands, including bride price payments
A Sequel to Sweet Garaiina Apo - Monica is entrapped in a legal fight over heritage rights in Europe
Antics of Alonaa Volume 2 - Another collection of short stories about the antics of the young Alonaa