By Meriba Tulo – EMTV News, Port Moresby
In Arawa this week, history was achieved with the Mekamui Faction joining the official Weapons Disposal Process in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
Represented by Mekamui Defence Force General, Moses Pipiro, the group committed to being a part of the Weapons Disposal Exercise in the lead up to the referendum on Bougainville’s political future. They are now a part of the Joint Weapons Disposal Secretariat (JWDS ) and have been invited to contribute ideas on how this island region can achieve full weapons disposal, in line with the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
This week, the Joint Weapons Disposal Secretariat met to firm up progress in efforts to achieve full weapons disposal on Bougainville, in line with the Bougainville Peace Agreement. Whilst the participation of representatives from the National Government and Autonomous Bougainville Government was, as usual, the attendance by the Mekamui was a highlight, with its Defence Force General Moses Pipiro in attendance.
A man of very few words, this once feared leader of the faction that was not a party to the Bougainville Peace Agreement, made known the Mekamui’s stance on efforts to dispose of all weapons on Bougainville – weapons that are still in the hands of various factions of ex-combatants.
Speaking to EMTV News, General Pipiro, explained the reasons behind the decision to join the official Weapons Disposal Process. According to General Pipiro, the referendum is viewed as a way in which the people of Bougainville finally have their say on an issue that has been at the forefront of their struggle for self-determination for many years.
At this meeting, the Mekamui faction officially welcomed to be a part of the efforts of the JWDS as it works to fulfil a pillar of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
With the participation of the Makamui faction in the efforts of the Joint Weapons Disposal Secretariat, there is renewed hope that despite the short timeframe before the referendum target date, work can progress in declaring constituencies “Weapons-Free” and “Referendum-Ready” to allow for the referendum exercise to proceed – in peace, and with credibility.