IN the mid-1990s Louis Taneavi (pictured), who last week was slain in Lae, left his Tumpusiong Valley in Bougainville when he heard schools were operating in the PNG army-controlled areas of Buin Town.
While Louis was a student at Buin High School and living with his cousin sister at Ipiraia, one of the few care centres operated by the PNG army, the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) infiltrated and attacked at will.
From time to time, to take a break from constant BRA raids, the PNG army made mini-peace deals with notorious BRA commander, the late Paul Bobby Kiaku.
During these times, the BRA freely came into the care centres and people like Louis also moved around to visit friends in PNG and BRA controlled areas.
It was during one of these respites that Louis had his second lucky escape from death. His first was in Torokina whilst serving as a BRA soldier. In 1993 he and his mates had walked into a PNG army ambush.
In Buin while Louis was a student in 1995, a PNG soldier named Phil Dengde made a peace deal with Paul Bobby Kiaku. The peace lasted for few days; many others lasted just hours.
During these fragile occasions, the BRA, BRF and PNGDF chatted and, when the time was up, the guns were fired and the game of killing resumed. It was from the Ipirai care centre where Louis Taneavi watched these developments.
On one of these truce days, a Sunday, Louis went to visit a Panguna man, Clement Taruoi, who was a businessman and health extension officer and dwelled in the Tangtareke care centre, also in Buin.
As he was on his way, a BRA gang led by Paul Bobby which had been boozing at the pro-PNG Mamaro care centre, passed by without realising that the short truce had ended.
The PNGDF took the opportunity to attack Paul Bobby Kiaku, the most feared BRA man. They reversed an ambulance into the Mamaro care centre towards Bobby and the band. The BRA thought the PNGDF ambulance was approaching to fetch a sick person, so they kept calm.
From inside the reversing vehicle the PNGDF opened fire at the boozing BRA band and killed one BRA soldier but their number target, Paul Bobby, lept into the nearby Loruru River gorge and escaped unhurt.
Paul Bobby was ruthless in battle and the resistance knew he would return for payback, As anticipated, that afternoon the Laguai-based BRA units infiltrated Buin.
Not knowing the BRA was in their midst, Louis and his Panguna friend Clement Taruoi took a walk to the edges of Tangtareke care centre.
But on their way, they were told a BRA man had being killed at Mamaro care centre, so Clement asked Louis to check the situation and see if he could return home.
Louis went and met a young girl, Merolyn Tukiau, who told him nobody was home so Louis started retun back to Tangtareke.
As he approached the junction into Tangtareke, the BRA began to attack Buin Independence Oval that hosted the PNGDF base.
Louis was caught in the middle and watched as Paul Bobby fired a M203 grenade towards the PNGDF causing them to retreat.
As Louis tried to move away, a dreadlocked BRA man stopped him and started questioning him: ‘Do doi oraigu?’ (Where are you from?).
Louis answered him: ‘Kietarai’ (From Kieta).
‘Eke oke tungtumoru?’ (Where do you live?).
In fury the BRA man, placing a sharp knife on his neck, said: ‘Do tou resistance denden? Do dopa engtano o dekipoino’ (You must be a Resistance? If you are a resistance I will kill you now).
Louis told him: ‘Tou, ne touno resistance! Ne school erumo igoke nunu ngoma mango nonoi.’ (I am not Resistance, I reside with my sister there and attend school).
The BRA man said: ‘Okay. Do dengo toio omorogim. Deke Kieta toi bio torokim’ (Okay. Come with us and we will take you to Kieta; we travel regularly through the jungle to Kieta).
But after running a short distance under PNGDF mortar and gun fire, the BRA man changed his mind and told Louis: ‘A tou! Do buaga-are touno tokasi. Ne ninu buaga-are promise etasi. Do mururara’ (No. You are not promised for death. I am promised for death, so you go back).
So the BRA left Louis Taneavi to return to the care centre as they moved on with their war.
Those bullets of the Bougainville war did not take you down brother. May your soul rest in peace.