Bougainville - The Forgotten War in the
By Janine Roberts - >
Bougainville is a large island to the east
of Papua New Guinea - which in its turn lies due North of Australia.
It has a population of about 200,000 - and what most of the world
does not know is that most of these people have been living behind a
cruel blockade mounted by Papua New Guinea using Australian military
equipment for the past four years. Even medical supplies have been
stopped. When a legal representative of the people tried to reach the
island, she was machine-gunned from the air. When she went back to
visit the island last year, it took over nine months before she could
be found a means of leaving.
This island, once a South Pacific tropical
paradise, also has an extremely rich deposit of copper on it. The
British company RTZ, via its Australian subsidiary CRA, mined this
deposit. The pollution from the mine wrecked an entire river
system.The people wanted to be free of New Guinea and eventually
rebelled and declared independence from New Guinea. Today New Guinea
only has toe-holds on the coast of the island. Most of the island is
in the hands of the independence movement.'s army.
In early 1998 the first tentative peace
negotiations started amid much suspicion. The Australian government
suggested the RTZ's mine not be restarted - but RTZ said it was still
on its agenda to reclaim its former mine property - and the many
leases covering a large part of the island.
The people of this island are racially
distinct from the people of New Guinea. They were made part of New
Guinea by a quirk of colonialism. Gemany occupied and claimed the
island before the First World War. After the war it was made an
Australian protectorate by the League of Nations pending the
restoration of independence to the people (just as happened in
southern Africa with South West Africa which is now the independent
country of Namibia) But Australia made its protectorate part of its
neighbouring colony of New Guinea.When New Guinea was given its
independence, it was also given the land and people of
APRIL 1996 - New
Guinea forces raid neighbouring state. + Missionary speaks out on the
medical supplies blockade.
Click below to get the latest news from the
Australian media on Bougainville and from the island.
Any support for these isolated people
would be much appreciated. This website and the Web Inquirer will
pass on all help offered.
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