6 April, 2018, 12:00 am
A former rebel leader in Bougainville is backing the government’s campaign to remove weapons from the Papua New Guinea province, a local Cabinet minister says.
Weapons disposal is a requirement that needs to be met ahead of the referendum on independence in June 2019.
The Minister for Peace Agreement Implementation, Albert Punghau, met with Damien Koike in the south of the main island last week and got his assurance that he would support the referendum process, particularly the surrender of illegal weapons.
“We did talk to them about the importance of disposing or removing the weapons before the vote so that they comply with the Bougainville Peace Agreement and at the same time make an environment conducive for people to go and vote in a free and fair manner, and to help with the rule of law and good governance,” he said.