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Fallen Comrades in Bougainville Crisis Remembered

A memorial service was held to remember Correctional Officers who died during the Bougainville Crisis in the 1990s.

CS Commissioner, Michael Waipo, who was the Jail Commander in Buka during the Crisis said it was an experience he will remember always.

Other officers who were serving in Buka during the crisis were also present to remember their fallen comrades.

Every year on the 17th of January, Correctional Service officers host a memorial service to remember the CS Officers who died while serving during the Bougainville Crisis.

The service began with the catafalque party taking their position around the catafalque as a sign of honouring the seven CS officers who were killed during the conflict.

A minute’s silence was observed followed by the laying of wreaths.

CS Commissioner Michael Waipo, who was the Bekut Jail Commander recalled it was an experience they were not prepared for.

“It changed so quickly,” said Waipo.

An experience that will be remembered as the first ever casualty the Correctional Service suffered in the 1990s.

The Bougainville Crisis ended with a Peace Agreement in 1997.

But the experiences are still fresh in the minds of those who worked as service men and women in Bougainville.

Sir John ToGuata, who was the NGI Divisional Commander for Police then, described the service as an emotional experience.

“I lost 23 of my young policemen to the conflict.”

Similar memorial services were held in all Correctional Service institutions across the country.

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