LEONARD FONG ROKA
IT WAS AN AGE OF SUPPRESSION, exploitation and indoctrination that led to rebellion on the Solomon island of Bougainville. It was brought about by sentiment against Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) and the Papua New Guinea government that reached a crescendo in late 1988.
There was violence to shut the Australian Panguna mine in the heart of Bougainville that was championing the exploitation of the land; there was violence to free Bougainville from the stinging political, economic and social claws of PNG and built a new nation in the heart of the Pacific.
It all unfolded in Panguna in Central Bougainville in 1988 when the late Francis Ona (pictured above) and his band of followers, known as the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), executed a sabotage campaign against BCL property and threatened its employees in order to put an end to a mine that promised so much but gave very little to Bougainvilleans.