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Statement from the Office of the President on the Konnou Issue

The Autonomous Bougainville Government has grave concerns about the escalating violence in the Buin District that has been intensified by the Konnou Conflict.

The primary task of the government at this time is to contain the Konnou Conflict and de-escalate the situation in Buin Town to avoid further bloodshed and spillover violence.

I want to condemn in the strongest terms the unnecessary killing of the man by one of the two conflicting factions in the Konnou Constituency.

I also want to condemn the attacks on Konnou-owned businesses in Buin Town. While I understand your grievances, it is never right to take the law into our own hands by attacking our fellow citizens.

I thank the Minister for Police, Hon. John Bosco Ragu for leading a delegation to Buin Town on Wednesday following the incident with representatives from ex-combatants from South and Central Bougainville to mediate with the aggrieved relatives of the deceased and other relevant stakeholders.

Minister’s Ragu’s efforts have resulted in a way forward for us to address the ongoing situation in Konnou and the greater Buin District.

Moving forward, any peace initiative for the Konnou Constituency must first be initiated by the leaders of Konnou. We have the Member for Konnou Hon. Willie Masiu, the South Bougainville Veterans Member Hon. Robert Kebau and the National Member for South Bougainville Hon. Timothy Masiu who are all from Konnou and are important stakeholders.

The political leadership must be supported by Konnou’s ex-combatants, clan chiefs and youth leaders.

It is in the absence of leadership in Konnou that this problem has escalated to the point where it is causing problems for Buin District and the rest of Bougainville.

My predecessors, the former Presidents James Tanis and Grand Chief Dr John Momis tried their very best to reconcile the factions, but these efforts did not yield positive results through a permanent peace settlement in Konnou.

To avoid the futile efforts of the past, all government intervention at this stage is limited to a facilitatory role in developing a peace plan that ensures all conflicting parties reach a consensus and agree to peace on their terms.

My decision to keep the government at arm’s length of the conflict is also based on our experience in the Bougainville Peace Process. True peace cannot be forced upon two conflicting parties; it must be peace that is on the terms of those involved in the conflict.

The government stands ready to support any initiative for the Konnou Constituency that is truly committed to resolving the conflict and ensuring permanent peace.


Hon. Ishmael Toroama, MHR

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