23 Apr 2019

Churches reconcile in Bougainville

8:38 pm on 23 April 2019

Churches in Papua New Guinea's autonomous region of Bougainville marked Easter with a major reconciliation and unification ceremony in Arawa.

The Post Courier reports that church leaders acknowledged that after arriving in the region a hundred years ago, different denominations had created division among the people.

Church in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

Church in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

This disunity continued on through the crisis years of Bougainville's civil war in the 1990s.

Bougainville's President, John Momis, commended the churches for the reconciliation.

He said it was important that differences must not be allowed to separate the people of Bougainville.

A former Bougainville Revolutionary Army commander, Ishmael Toroama, acknowledged the churches' role in creating divisivenes.

He apologised on behalf of all former combatants for all crisis-related issues that affected the churches, and also forgave the churches for issues that arose during the conflict.

Bougainville is due to hold a referendum on independence in October.

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