Panguna hardliners order stop to ‘Bel Kol’

panguna belkol ultimatum

Romulus Masiu | Post Courier

THE proposed “Bel Kol”, appeasement ceremony between Bougainville Copper Limited/Rio Tinto and Panguna landowners planned for this month has been put off indefinitely.

The postponement followed threats by disgruntled ex-combatants who are calling themselves Central No-Go Zone Hardliners in Kieta district, Central Bougainville.

The group had issued a five-page ultimatum ordering the postponement of the ceremony which was to also involve the Bougainville Autonomous Government in Arawa.

James Onartoo, who claims chairmanship, said it is an organised group made up of women, youths, community leaders and former combatants who oppose any “Bel Kol” negotiations between the Panguna landowners and Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL). Their protest letter has been copied to Bougainville President John Momis and other Bougainville leaders.

It reads, in part:

“We give this notice of order to all who planned the Bel Kol with BCL and Panguna landowners. As the hardliners who stood behind the late Francis Ona to see Bougainville set free from foreign exploitation, we feel we have been sidelined. We remind the people of Bougainville that having earned Bougainville Freedom through sweat, tears and blood, we humbly step aside and make way for our community and political leaders to lead us.

“We also know that it is our responsibility to ensure that all we sacrificed for during the war is not lost in the quest for profits by foreign exploiters. That is the purpose of the war why we lost our comrades, our families, our brothers and sisters throughout Bougainville is kept in our focus by our leaders, that is to regain our stolen rights. We see Bel Kol as a diversion from that focus.”

The group said that by custom it is right to initiate the Bel Kol.

“We haven’t met our brothers from PNG yet. Therefore, we order that the program be stopped until we reconcile with our PNG brothers and sisters. Anything to do with Australia, CRA and BCL follows on from there.

“We give an order that the Bel Kol be halted and everything planned put off immediately. We represent those who are against Bel Kol to reopen the Panguna Mine throughout Bougainville. Any further move to continue with Bel Kol will leave us with no option except to stop the event ourselves by any means,” the letter read.

BCL is understood to have been informed about the postponement, saying it would leave the matter to the Bougainville Government to sort out. President Momis was not available for comments.

3 Comments

Filed under Human rights, Papua New Guinea

3 responses to “Panguna hardliners order stop to ‘Bel Kol’

  1. Leo Nainoka

    can i send you stuffs to be published on PNG minewatch?

  2. Dear Central No-Go Zone Hardliners absolutely LOVE your stand against the mining company which is now RIO TINTO.
    “RTZ and CRA were unified in 1995 through a dual listed companies structure. This means that each Company has an identical board of directors and the shareholders of both Companies are in substantially the same position in terms of votes, dividends and capital returns as if they held shares in a single enterprise owning all the assets of both Companies.”
    You face RIO TINTO mining company and we stand with you against the corporate thugs CRA/RTZ, now Rio Tinto.
    Perhaps, we still need to know who is accountable for their dirty, revolting stance to keep their greedy shareholders happy, particularly in Europe (the European shareholders) on the other side of the planet?
    Yes, correct blame Australia but please see how the mining company was reallly behind the deaths of at least 20,000 people on Bougainville and still insist they return to continue mining. Of course, like nothing happened.
    They, the mining company does have a hard time considering that “the Indigenous Land Owners” stopped them.
    Love to you Bougainville, your Bougainville Revolutionary Army, Francis Ona and those who opposed the mining company to stop the Panguna mine.
    AS MY DEAR FRIEND MOSES HAVINI SAID, “When people are deprived of their rights it is natural to resist. And when injustice becomes law, resistance is justified and becomes a duty. The people have been made landless, poor, denied access to health care and education. Resistance from the people becomes their only form of expression”.
    And continuing on with another wonderful quote from my dear friend from Bougainville, MOSES HAVINI, “We link together with other indigenous people of the world as we continue to claim our right to self-determination, the right to conduct our own public affairs, manage our own economic and social needs in a civil society, where all peoples of the world are expected to co-exist and respect the fundamental rights of others”.
    We salute you MOSES and YOUR BOUGAINVILLE PEOPLE xxx

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