PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Bougainville Women's NGO to Try and Talk to Militant Leaders

Thursday, May 5, 2011
Radio New Zealand International
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Reconstruction and Peacebuilding

The head of a Bougainville women's NGO says it's preparing to talk to those involved in the build-up of arms in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province, including the leader of the militant Mekamui Defence Force.

This comes after Bougainville's president, John Momis, said it may be necessary to have peacekeepers return if violence and lawlessness continue in the south of the main island.

Leitana Nehan Development Agency's Helen Hakena says the Mekamui no longer trusts the government but its commander, Damian Koike, will listen to the women of the province.

“The women have a lot of influence because as mothers we do not have enemies. We just want peace and you know our children to grow up in a peaceful environment. We do not want to lose any more lives you know, either from the commander's side or from the civilians. Because they're killing civilians.”

Helen Hakena says women's organisations won't move into Bougainville's southern area until the government states clearly what it wants them to do.