Monday, March 30, 2009

Peace meetings commence in Wau

Peace meetings between warring Watut and Biangai tribes began in Wau today with an indefinite liquor ban to be enforced in Wau starting tomorrow.

Schools are expected to resume next Monday after being closed since the recent violence between the two tribes in Wau.

Acting provincial administrator Patilias Gamato says the process is going to take time but the negotiating team will remain committed to ensuring that peace is restored between the warring tribes.

The negotiating team talked to the Biangais in Wau today and will talk to the Watuts in Bulolo tomorrow.

Mr Gamato called on both sides to clearly put down their demands on paper, which the team will peruse and discuss further next Saturday.

He also called on them to bring out all relevant information including court orders.

Mr Gamato stressed that both sides must list their issues properly.

The negotiating team has asked for both sides to select six representatives to meet with it.

Bulolo MP Sam Basil, meantime, called for peace and common sense to prevail.

“As leaders we will maintain our presence to ensure that the situation doesn’t get out of hand,” he said.

“As Member, I will support the peace process for law and order and peace to be restored.”

Team leader Benson Suang said: “It’s a big problem and both sides must realise that they must allow the peace process to take its course.”

Provincial police commander Peter Guiness said: “Both sides must respect the law.

“Law is law and police will enforce the rule of law.

“Police will not compromise and will do our work.”

Everything has calmed down, with business returning to normal, but the situation remains tense.

Relief supplies continue to flow through, coordinated by Morobe Mining Joint Ventures, operator of the Hidden Valley gold mine.


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