By Josie Tankunani Sirivi, Marilyn Taleo Havini
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Additional info for As Mothers of the Land: The Birth of the Bougainville Women for Peace and Freedom
The second time I encountered the PNGDF was at a road-block. A Bougainvillean officer, who I had gone to school with, recognised me but thankfully he did not tell the PNG soldiers who I was and I managed to slip past. This was my last trip to town, to buy clothes for my baby; enough to last, and to keep her warm during the cold nights in the mountains where I knew I would now have to go to be safe. For the time being I was staying at Koromira Catholic Mission Station with my aunty, who was a nursing sister.
Moses refused to entertain the idea and we ignored the papers for three months. Moses was far more concerned that our Provincial Government had been cancelled and martial law had been applied under State of Emergency powers. He was constantly importuned by Bougainvilleans to intervene in the situation and was asked to once more step into a leadership role. At that time, however, certain leaders who had recently swept into power with John Momis under the Melanesian Alliance Party were not prepared to entertain any leadership input from Leo Hannett, Alexis Sarei, Moses and others of their predecessors.
As bad as things were under the curfew, and with check-points and surveillance for those who were on the run, nothing prepared us for the wholesale abuse of entire villages well beyond the original arena of conflict around the Panguna mine. I continued to drive to school with my children through road-blocks, subjected to car and body searches by rough, crude soldiers. Machine-guns were aimed at us from behind sandbags at check-points while menacing soldiers surrounded the car and ordered all the occupants out.