Bougainville police hoping southern violence has eased

Bougainville’s police chief Francis Tokura hopes engaging youth in meaningful activity will stop violence around Buin.

Late last month, violence erupted when factions of the Me’ekamui clashed in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region’s south.

The Me’ekamui was an offshoot from the Bougainville Rrevolutionary Army which fought for the region’s independence from PNG in the ten year long civil war in the 1990s.

In the fighting last week a man was killed, sparking retribution which led to the destruction of the local studios of New Dawn FM.

Tokura said in discussions involving the police and senior government officials last week, the warring groups were encouraged to come up with ideas to keep their youth productively engaged.

“We were down in Buin with the Bougainville police minister, several senior public servants and one of the constituency members from south central Bougainville.

“We were basically there to look at how we could address this particular issue and come up with some solutions to actually put everything to rest and make the factions come to a roundtable discussion, if they can be convinced,” he said.

Tokura said the warring groups were encouraged to come up with ideas to keep their youth productively engaged.

“Instead of holding arms they do something more meaningful in their communities, in their families as well.

“Starting projects is one of the things that came about in the discussions and looking at ways and means of engaging the young up and coming youths.”

He said after the talks a team hadbeen set up to assess ideas, such as further education, and make recommendations for the government to then consider.

Plight of New Dawn FM

Bougainville has poor broadcasting links so the loss of the Buin transmitter will be felt there.

“New Dawn FM has been assisting us actually,” Tokura said, adding “not only Bougainvilleans but also the Bougainville police service and disseminating information from Buka to south Bougainville through New Dawn Fm in Buin.

“I am also very concerned as to the level of communications that we’ll be having now that New Dawn FM in Buin has been burned down. I am very concerned for this to have happened.”

Tokura said police are still trying to work out why the radio station was targetted.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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