My flatmate discovered an old weekly newsletter published in Bougainville back in the 90s. Produced and printed by the Division of Information, the VillePress serves as an interesting insight into Bougainville's history. Reading through the articles I found myself experiencing a sense of déjà vu…
The front page of issue 15, Friday 5 September 1998, is titled:
Resistance to disarm before BRG is formed
The article was drafted soon after the peace initiatives lead by New Zealand with the parties to the conflict. The article centres on an interview with a Resistance leader (one of the armed factions at the time), who is quoted as saying the following:
"We have come a long way from Burnham to Buin and we feel a lot better after the Pan Bougainville Congress.
However, we can't get things right until those arms and ammunition leave our hands.
We had been preparing a paper for PPCC's deliberation this month and we're really serious about this disarmament thing. It must begin at once. Really there is no longer any need for Bougainvilleans to be armed."