The Statue Lady Queen of Peace During the Bouganville Crisis

The Haisi people of Siwai in South Bougainville have retold a story that occurred during the peak of the Crisis.

These are some of the many stories that portray the treatment from several members of the Papua New Guinea Defense Force to Bouganvillean’s. But of those, entire religious phenomenon’s also occurred, one at the Haisi care center, involving these soldiers.

Haisi in Siwai District is a three hour drive from the former mining capital Arawa.

It’s a wetland, full of rivers with the road condition not promising, but filled with gravel to make it accessible.

Arriving at the Haisi Mission station, the Our Lady’s statue reaches out with her welcoming hands at the grotto. It’s the Our Lady Queen of Peace.

The statue is eye-catching, as there is a black spot on her bosom.

As a newcomer to that area, I asked about the black spot and was told the story.

Haisi was PNG Defense Force soldier’s camp, and off course, peoples care center during the Bougainville Crisis.

And where there were care centers, there was also order. The people were not allowed to speak with any Bougainville Revolutionary Army member’s. Those who do so will be punished.

Eleanor Maineke was a small girl at that time. She lived with her grandmother at the Parish Priest house.

She recalled, seeing what that all had happened at this area, the PNGDF banker was where people received pain for breaching orders.

Mrs Maineke is Eleanor’s mother and one of the witnesses to the crisis events.

During the Crisis, she said Bougainvilleans always prayed for a lasting peace on the island; A union with God. That often was made fun of by some soldiers.

It was in 1994; shoot out between the PNGDF and BRA’s; when the lieutenant shot Our Lady Queen of Peace.

He walked towards the grotto, aimed his gun at her bosom, pressed the trigger and fired the bullet.

It was intriguing as Mrs Maineke explained, white powder poured out, which later formed clouds that surrounded the area.

The clouds prevented the soldiers to see their enemies – the BRA’s.

She said the person who fired the bullet, also received wounding in the same manner.

Mrs Maineke said after the shootout, all houses were burnt down with people transferred to Tonu care center.

This story is just the tip of an iceberg of the Crisis events involving the PNG Defense Force in the height of the Bougainville Crisis.

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