IT was during the peak days of the Bougainville crisis in late 1994 that Panguna youngster, Louis Taneavi (pictured), left home to pursue his education at Buin High School, which was under the control of the PNG Defence Force in the then divided island.
It was a new experience for Louis, who died recently after being savagely attacked in Lae. In Panguna, his home valley was quite peaceful. But Buin High School was raided at will by BRA resistance fighters based in Laguai village.
The large village of Laguai, situated south-west of Buin and about an hour’s walk from the town, was home to BRA ‘H’ Company.
And when considering the 10 bloody conflict zones on Bougainville, Laguai, its sister village Malabita and their satellite villages and hamlets have their own tale to tell of their survival strategies against raids by the PNGDF and pro-PNG forces.
The territory that hosted enclaves like Laguai, mostly in South Bougainville, were surrounded by well-armed pro-PNG resistance fighters, the Australian-trained and armed PNG soldiers and PNG police. Daily they were on the butt of lethal mortar firepower from PNG forces that resulted in many casualties.