File spoon-archives/marxism-general.archive/marxism-general_1996/96-12-18.142, message 49

Date: Tue, 17 Dec 1996 07:29:53 +0100 (MET)
Subject: M-G: Bougainville Update 17/12/96

>From: "Vikki John" <>
>Organization:  Faculty Of Law, Uni. Of Tech., Syd.
>Date:          Tue, 17 Dec 1996 15:13:23 GMT-1000
>Subject:       Bougainville Update 17/12/96
>X-Pmrqc:       1
>Priority: urgent
>by Craig Skehan, Foreign Affairs Correspondent and Lucy Palmer, Port Moresby
>Sydney Morning Herald, 17 December, 1996
>The Australian Government yesterday increased pressure on Papua New Guinea
> over allegations that the PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) had killed civilians 
>during attacks on villages in southern Bougainville, calling for priority 
to be 
>given to investigating the claims.
>A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said the Australian
> Government was "disturbed" over the reports and the publication of 
>of victims - including children - of an alleged November 28 mortar attack on a 
>village church.
>"Reports from the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby indicate that
> there has been a number of recent incidents in which civilians have died," the
> spokesman said.  "The circumstances in which they have occurred are still very
> unclear.
>"The PNGDF has indicated publicly that it is gravely concerned by the recent
> reports and we expect PNG will place a priority on investigating them."
>The reference to the need for priority to given to investigating the 
civilian deaths
> follows a lack of detailed information from the PNG Government and the 
>PNGDF in response to the allegations.
>This was despite the fact that more than 20 civilian deaths allegedly 
occurred at
> the end of November and the beginning of this month.
>Meanwhile, Bougainville rebels claim a further 14 mortars were fired on 
> villages in the island's south last week by the PNGDF.
>Sketchy reports released in a handwritten statement from the Sydney office of
> the Bougainville Interim Government said the mortars were fired almost every 
>day from the PNGDF's camp at Oria, about 12 kilometres north of Buin in the
> island's south.
>A spokesman for the Bougainville Interim Government, Mrs Marilyn Havini, 
>said there were no reported deaths or injuries from the alleged attacks, 
details of
> which were picked up by radio in the Solomon Islands.
>The commander of the PNGDF, Brigadier-General Jerry Singirok, was not
> available for comment.
>Mrs Havini said there were also reports that the death toll from an early 
> massacre, also allegedly carried out by the PNGDF last month in Siwai 
> had risen from 11 to 16.  "Five more were found - they'd run for it but 
still got
> killed," she said.
>Mrs Havini denied counter allegations by PNG Government officials who
> privately accuse the BRA of using stolen mortars on their own people.
>"You don't go mortaring your own families, no matter what your political point
> is," she said.    END.
>Media Release from Women for Bougainville, 17 December, 1996
>The group Women for Bougainville has called for urgent intervention by the 
>International Committee of the Red Cross to relieve the horrific suffering 
> by the escalating massacres in all parts of Bougainville.
>There have been reports of more than seven separate massacres of villagers by
> the Papua New Guinea Defence Forces in the past three weeks.  Two children 
>were killed and two fingers chopped off the hands of their 8 year old sister at
> Bogisagu village on 26 November; eleven people were killed when a mortar hit
> a village chapel on 28 November.  In "Operation Katim Grass" on 1 December, 
>PNG Defence Force members are reported to have attacked five villages 
>in Siwai,  South Bougainville, with high-powered weapons including 
>sub-machine guns.  Doctor Herman Oberli, a Swiss surgeon in Honiara
> Central Hospital in the Solomon Islands has confirmed that Bougainvilleans
> fleeing from the PNG forces have been killed and wounded by 
>internationally-banned dumdum bullets.
>Despite this appalling suffering, a recent investigation team of the 
> Committee of the Red Cross did not gain permission to enter mainland 
>Bougainville from the Papua New Guinea authorities.  Reports from 
>Bougainvilleans on both sides of the blockade describe the medical and 
>community needs of the people are desperate.
>Women for Bougainville join Bougainvilleans who are calling for the 
> Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to be urgently allowed to enter 
>The ICRC as a neutral body with an international infrastructure is best 
> to deliver immediate and ongoing aid in a war zone and have the confidence 
of all
> the people of Bougainville.
>Women for Bougainville convened a national forum in Sydney this year.  The
> keynote speakers were humanitarian aid workers from Bougainville from the
> areas controlled by the PNG Defence Forces and those controlled by the
> Bougainville Revolutionary Army.   END.
>For further information please contact
>Max Watts, Journalist specialising in Bougainville, East Timor and 
>West Papua issues Tel/Fax 61-2-818.2343
>email contacts 
>snail mail:  PO Box 134, Erskineville  NSW  2043

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