In Fiji:

April 3, 2024, 10:15 am
Regional, World

Southern violence hoped to be curbed, says Bougainville police

Georgina Ledua
Digital Media Specialist | georginal@fijitv.com.fj
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New Dawn FM up in flames

Bougainville’s police chief, Francis Tokura, is expressing cautious optimism regarding the recent surge of violence in the region’s southern area around Buin.

Last month, clashes erupted between factions of the Me’ekamui, a group stemming from the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, which played a pivotal role in the region’s fight for independence from Papua New Guinea during the 1990s civil war.

The recent violence resulted in a tragic loss of life and escalated further, leading to the destruction of the local studios of New Dawn FM, a significant communication channel for the community.

In response to the unrest, Tokura, along with senior government officials, convened discussions aimed at addressing the root causes of the conflict.

The focus was on engaging the youth in constructive activities to steer them away from violence.

“We were down in Buin with the Bougainville police minister, several senior public servants, and one of the constituency members from south central Bougainville,” Tokura explained.

“We were basically there to look at how we could address this particular issue and come up with some solutions to actually put everything to rest and make the factions come to a roundtable discussion, if they can be convinced.”

The discussions emphasized the importance of finding meaningful ways to keep the youth occupied and productive within their communities. Suggestions included initiating projects and providing further educational opportunities.

Following the talks, a team was established to evaluate these proposals and formulate recommendations for the government’s consideration.

However, the loss of the Buin transmitter of New Dawn FM, a vital means of communication in the region, poses additional challenges.

“New Dawn FM has been assisting us actually,” Tokura noted, expressing concern over the impact of the radio station’s destruction.

“I am also very concerned as to the level of communications that we’ll be having now that New Dawn FM in Buin has been burned down. I am very concerned for this to have happened.”

Authorities are actively investigating the motives behind the targeting of the radio station as efforts continue to restore peace and stability in the region.

(Information sourced from Don Wiseman – RNZ Senior Journalist)