Papua New Guinea
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Talks to reconcile feuding villages

LAW and order continue to be an issue for the people of Siassi Island without proper reconciliation in the eight-year unrest.

Siassi Island is known for its lawlessness on the island for almost a decade now with less police presence on the island stated a concerned local Jason Tobem.

Mr Tobem said many people have lost their lives, properties, no freedom of movement to access basic services including health and education.

“Back in the days we have villagers going back and forth to visit other villagers but since the past eight years of ethnic clash, such has never happened,” he said.

“Two schools no longer operate and remain closed for eight years now and these primary schools serve two to three villages.

“This has also caused public servants like the health workers and teachers to flee the villages facing ongoing fights.

There are four tribes of Kowai, Kamainga, Karanai and Bula who wish to make peace and reconcile to ensure a better Siassi Island in the future.

“Let us change our way of thinking as Kowai for Kowai, Kamainga for Kamainga and Karanai for Karanai or Bula for Bula,”he said.

“This is the line of thinking that causes many setbacks and affects the livelihood of our people.

“The peace, negotiation and reconciliation talks have been ongoing for too long now with nothing happening and violence is still perpetrated against oppressed population and our mandated leaders are turning a blind eye.”

Youth representative Henry Waku from Barang, a village affected by the ongoing clash, is making a stand to unite their village with other surrounding villages.

“Youths have come together to restore peace and reconcile villagers back together to bring back normalcy,” he said.

“In the eight years of tribal fight, almost ten lives have been lost especially the youths so we have had enough.