Pacific Media Watch

25 March 2015

PNG: Ioro people fed up with Bougainville mining tug-of-war

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Tailings from Panguna mine in the Jaba River valley. PNG Mine Watch

Special Correspondent
ARAWA (PNG Mine Watch/Pacific Media Watch): The people of Ioro are fed up with the tug-of-war between the minority pro-miners and the majority who have had enough of talking about it, say activists from the area.

The Ioro constituency covers the entire Panguna area and has its administrative borders at Kieta, Bana and Torokina.

Chiefs, clan leaders and other respected leaders and public servants in Ioro recently convened a meeting in a rare event to look for potential leaders who will represent them.

With the Autonomous Bougainville Region government (ABG) elections soon, the people of Ioro do not want to go to the ballot. Instead they want to declare one leader who they feel can truly and fairly represent them.

At the end of the meeting, the chiefs all agreed to endorse one candidate for Ioro, surprisingly most of the other potential candidates decided to stand down and allow one contender for the seat.

The chiefs and clan leaders are also appealing to other intending candidates in Ioro to stand down and allow one capable person to take up the task of representing them.

The people are now eyeing Baka’oboring as a potential leader - he is someone who has brought himself to holistic self-reliance and at the same time knows the issue of Panguna inside out.

Fight independently
Panguna people want a person who is willing to fight independently for his or her people and the independence of Bougainville.

Martin Miriori, the man who was in the thick of bringing the Bougainville crisis to the global village’s attention, is the person whom the people of Panguna are considering.

Community and clans’ leaders called the meeting to affirm their support for him. This rare occasion was witnessed by almost all chiefs within Panguna

The Ioro constituency is at the heart of the Bougainville crisis. It will now use this ploy to decide their new member.

The village chiefs have come together to call all the population in the constituency to declare one leader into the seat in order to put an end to the debate on the mining issue which has caused much contention.

Even the public servants confessed during the meeting that blame for the instability in Bougainville has been blamed on the people of Panguna.

Thus, they have stated that Ioro people are ready to take on the fight with a credible representative and carry on with the fight for independence.

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