Papua New Guinea
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PNGDF Returns to Bougainville after 23 Years

The Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) has set foot on the soil of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville for the first time in twenty-three years.

Led by Captain Brian Pohai, the team of PNGDF Navy engineers arrived on Bougainville to bring much-needed relief supplies and to aid in the resettlement of local communities affected in the Torokina area of South Bougainville.

According to Minister for Bougainville Affairs Manasseh Makiba, this is a significant milestone for both Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG). Since the Bougainville crisis and the signing of the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) in 2001, the PNGDF had not been deployed to Bougainville until this moment.

The PNG Government, responding to a request from ABG and based on humanitarian grounds, approved the deployment to provide assistance in the aftermath of the volcanic eruption of Mt Bagana in Torokina, South Bougainville.

Addressing the Bougainville community, Minister Makiba expressed gratitude for embracing the PNGDF's presence on the ground and thanked the veterans and former Bougainville Revolutionary Army Commander General Sam Kauona for their leadership in accepting the PNGDF personnel.

The event represents a symbolic handshake between the veterans and the PNGDF personnel, signifying a genuine commitment to achieving lasting peace and cooperation on the island of Bougainville.