To such nightmare, on April 11 1989, Post Courier had an article titled 'Soldiers to step up action'. The author, Sema Rea wrote that the Defense Minister Arnold Marsipal announcing his Chief of Operation on Bougainville, Colonel Leo Nuia had issued the order 'shoot and kill' just four days after two of his soldiers were killed.
Under this orders, our homes were burned or looted, civilians tortured or killed, domesticated animals killed, gardens destroyed and our women raped by the infiltrating security forces.
Who should deny this? And from where, is this PNGDF helicopter pilot, Charlie Andrews, coming from?
In the Sandline Crisis video documentary, Charlie Andrews says:
'Militarily we cannot stop the war, I mean it is against our brothers and sisters out there...so most of the soldiers, the service men, God blessed them with big hearts. They are not out there to destroy and killed others unnecessarily'.
In late 1989, a cocoa farmer from Kupe was in cocoa plot at Bakabori when a PNGDF patrol came. He was shot, had his feet attached to a tether and dragged down hill to the Bovo river with some captives. There he was buried alive and he died. My brother and I was soon to walk into these killers but a escaping family rescued us. Weeks later, the PNGDF gunship stormed the mountainous Kupe villages. From our care centre, Kaino, we watched as two choppers gunned the mountains passing by each other as their attacked.
Charlie Andrews and his bird
The operation took a captive, Louis Kepetu by air to Panguna where he was tortured for months.
Back he my hamlet, Kavaronau, in the Tumpusiong Valley of Panguna District, the PNGDF arrived one 1989 day. As the truck patrol was driving in, my family escaped after having gone through nightmares with the police.
My hamlet, in those days was the only well-off homestead. It took electrical supply from the BCL supply and also, had family business operations.
So, as they entered the first thing was to help themselves with store goods and cash. And later torched our 9 houses. My family stood just above a hillock and wept.
Later, the PNGDF shot death a mentally retarded relative, Arenama, as they further track up hill the escape routes.
Then, such newspaper titles, dominated in Niugini Nius: 'Troops up in arms over politicians' in 3 October 1989, 'Civilian shot death in Bougainville raid' in 16 October 1989, 'Shooting puts peace in doubt' in 27 October 1989, 'Soldiers in Panguna go looting' in 23 February 1989 and so on.
From where is Charlie Andrews coming, to tell Bougainvilleans that his army is good?
Again in 1991, according to Karl Claston's 1998 book, Bougainville 1988-98, he bring forth the story of PNGDF massacred Bougainvillean bodies that were dumped at sea with the Australia-donated gunships. Who flew the choppers?
In 1993, another welknown mental retard of Arawa was shot death. Such peoples, I know, ought to be protected. Earlier, a BRA man from Topinang village was shot in an ambush near the Bairima Junction outside Arawa. His body was, again attached to a tether and the other end of the rope to the armoured vehicle. The vehicle was drove towards Tunuru Box-cut with the body burning with friction against the tar.
Throughout the crisis, the PNGDF had no clear defined target to attack. So, mortars landed on innocent Bougainvilleans as in Buin where 9 children was killed. And, also in Arawa in 1992, a pregnant mother from Pavaire village went down to a shell from Tunuru Catholic mission.
With these incidences, what does PNGDF helicopter pilot mean when said, '...God blessed them with big hearts. They are not there to destry or kill...?' Who are his 'brothers and sisters' on Bougainville? What clan does he belongs to in Bougainville? What is the traditional name of a piece of land he owns in Bougainville?
This is a slap-in-the-face words from a military man whom we saw doing bad to us on our own land. The PNGDF actions on Bougainville were appropriate if we, Bougainvilleans were having a slum camp in a certain part of PNG and harming the New Guineans.
Beside, adopting foreign concepts like 'brother in the name of christ' does nothing good such as a, reributive justice to a heart that has been broken and shattered.
In Bougainville, during the crisis especially around the 1996 period when the 'Operation High Speed' series were on and seeing with our own eyes as the BRA punished them, the popular remark that was in the mouths was that, the PNGDF was:
'Michael Somare's personal body guards deployed on a mission beyond their comprehension and capability'.