by Serah Aupong – EM TV News, Port Moresby
The remains of Private Raymond Waia, a member of the Alpha Company of the First Royal Pacific Infantry Regiment, were finally laid to rest.
Late Private Raymond Waia is one of three soldiers whose remains were returned to their families on Sunday, after 19 years of their recorded deaths on Bougainville during the height of the conflict.
The burial started around 4pm with a slow march which started from the Alpha company parade grounds.
The road leading from parade grounds to the cemetery was lined with soldiers in their combat gear, all members of the Alpha company.
They stood to attention as the vehicle containing the casket of their fallen comrade passed.
The family of the late Private Waia, were part of the procession that followed behind the military.
At the graveside the Chaplain spoke about the bravery of the fallen soldier and performed the burial rites.
The 21 gun salute ended the military burial rites.
Late Private Waia was in his mid-20s when he was killed in battle. When he left for Bougainville for the last time, he left behind a pregnant wife and a daughter.
His son, Desmond, was born while he was still in Bougainville and grew up only hearing about his father and seeing a photo of him a couple of years ago.
Desmond received the PNG flag on behalf of his family. He says he is happy, with his father buried here, he will be able to visit him and he feels that he is close by.
Waia’s four sisters were flown in from East Sepik, by the PNGDF to attend their brothers’ burial.
As strong Christians, they feel their prayers have been answered and they say they are very happy to be able to finally lay their brother to rest.