24 Mar 2009

Bougainville President visits hotspots

8:54 pm on 24 March 2009

The President of the Autonomous PNG province of Bougainville, James Tanis, has visited the heartland of the pro-independence Me'ekamui movement in South Bougainville.

The newspaper The National reports that since his inauguration on January 6th, Mr Tanis has been visiting least developed areas of Bougainville.

This includes troubled spots of Tonu, Mongai, Konnou and inland areas of the South and Central Bougainville.

The latest trip into the Konnou area, where armed fighting is still continuing, was to bridge the gap between all factions of the Bougainville conflict.

Mr Tanis, who was joined by several Bougainville ministers, had several meetings in the village, first with the fighters and later with the people.

He called on the people to lay down their arms and start talking about establishing dialogue with their enemies and to prepare for reconciliation and weapons disposal.

Me'ekamui commander Damian Koike reportedly vowed to lay down arms, reconcile and destroy all weapons.