Veterans of North Bougainville in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville will be reconciling with families of those who were killed in Kunua, in the Mahari Constituency, West Coast Bougainville.
Team leader, Tobby Barnabas who was a member of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) that time told EMTV News in Buka that it was a pinch not reconciling with them for almost 21 years.
It is the right time now and with sheer determination, they have finally come to a solution to reconcile, with a date set which is next week Thursday, March 30.
This reconciliation will end the history of division and conflict.
“Since 2013, we the veterans of North Bougainville have been planning to reconcile with families of those killed in Kunua, Mahari Constituency, West Coast Bougainville. However this attempt was unsucessful with the government’s failure to support,
Then on November 2016, we made the second attempt but still hitting the brick wall. Until this year, we gave it another try and finally came to a solution with a clear fixed date,” he said.
It’s the right time now, Tobby says saying sorry to one another which was realised following requests from the victims families for them to reconcile.
Despite the many challenges, Tobby says the veterans have taken ownership of this reconciliation, building the self-confidence and trust, and also raising funds to make this happen.
“Because of no government support, we had to lead the way. Selling copra and cocoa produce including betelnut. We had to dig from our own pockets. So we had raised enough money to facilitate this program,
We didn’t want to wait because the more we had waited for the government, it would take ages again. We cannot delay what Bougainville is trying to achieve, and that is referendum come 2019; and we had to work under the Bougainville Peace Agreement,” Toby rounded.
Preparations are well underway for this reconciliaton believed to seal the many broken hearted, performed in a customary manner.
“This ceremony is called Bel Kol and is not compensation. We have 22 cases. This means that K2000 is for one person, 22 pig, 22 shell money called mimis, and 22 roll of clothing or laplap,” Barnabas cleared.
So far business houses and four members of the Bougainville House of Representatives have assisted with food supply.
Meanwhile, the veterans of North Bougainville are working closely to stage the many reconciliations.
This also opens the way forward for other veterans in Central and South Bougainville, to reconcile.
“Its about time, that we all veterans come out publicly and take part in reconciliations,
Civil war is over and lets unite and be a united Bougainville,” Tobby said.