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October 17, 2021
Bougainville News

Hagogohe Constituency Weapons Free

The Peace process in Bougainville continues as the autonomous Region is deciding its future political status.

Peace as a pillar of the Bougainville Peace Agreement will determine the outcome of referendum.

And for this reason, families, clans and communities are continuing to reconcile, and forgive one another.

They said they want lasting peace on the island.

The people of Hagogohe Constituency on Buka Island have reconciled, declaring a weapons-free community and are ready for the 2019 referendum.

In this special, report, Fabian Hakalits was part of the recent reconciliation ceremony where a declaration was made for Hagogohe as a weapons free community.

The people of Hagogohe Constituency staged a reconciliation ceremony on October 29, 2017, to end disagreements over what had transpired during the post conflict on the island.

It began with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, by Bishop of the Bougainville Catholic Diocese, Bernard Unabali.

The Faithful gathered at Saint Pius Gogohe Parish as an act of reconciliation.

Present were Heads of Foreign Missions in Bougainville including the United Nations, Australian Government and other line agencies like the Bougainville Police Service and Members of the Bougainville House of Representatives.

Bougainvilleans value Christianity and believe reconciliations must begin with a solemn service especially in the Catholic tradition where people reconcile with one another, asking the Lord Creator for forgiveness and mercy.

The Word of God, strengthens and nourishes each one.

In his homily, Bishop Bernard emphasised that Jesus Christ is the true meaning of reconciliation.

After the Holy Eucharistic celebration, through a traditional ritual, the warring parties united and reconciled.

They surrendered weapons and promised before the community to be part of the Peace process and continuous dialogue for the outcome of referendum.

Another party led by former North Bougainville Ex-Combatants Representative, Francesco Hopping, laid down their weapons and promised in front of the traditional shell money called payo.

A formal declaration was then made for Hagogohe Constituency to be weapons free and are ready for referendum.

Declarations were signed by different members of the community.

An eye catching moment, was the inclusion pf a person with special needs, Conrad Magei who also signed the declaration.

In the meantime, Hagogohe is the second Constituency in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville to have signed and declared as weapons free and supporting referendum.

Member for Hagogohe Constituency, Robert Hamal Sawa said this reconciliation is one of the many that will happen, for lasting peace on the island.

As 2019 looms, Bougainville must be prepared for referendum.

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