Prominent Bougainville leader dies

Mr Watawi served in the first three parliaments in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region.

He was vice president to the first leader of the ABG, Joseph Kabui, and later was minister of trade under James Tanis.

In that role he was responsible for Bougainville's first copra mill being built.

Mr Watawi was also heavily involved in the preparations for the referendum in 2019 and the ongoing post referendum process.


Bougainville to go into lockdown

This follows a surge in Covid-19 infections in recent weeks.

Last weekend alone there were four deaths at the main hospital in Buka and nine cases detected on Monday and Tuesday.

During the lockdown, issued by the regional pandemic controller, Clement Totavun, all educational institutions are to continue to operate, but at new hours of 8am to 2pm.

The main town markets are to close, but road side markets can still trade.

Other businesses, and government offices, can remain open but must apply the safety protocols.

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Bougainville toughens requirements over Covid surge

The regional pandemic controller, Clement Totavun, has issued more control measures in step with moves by the National Control Centre.

Bougainville has increased compulsory contact tracing and Covid testing at triage centres in Arawa, Buka and Buin.

Dr Totavun said their response team will now collect swabs from any patients attending the regional clinics who exhibit flu-like symptoms.

People flying into Bougainville from other parts of PNG must have a negative test result for Covid, to be presented to officials on arrival.

Bougainville boat tragedy survivor says seas very rough

The seven people, including Bougainville Health Minister Charry Napto along with his wife and son, had left Buka for Nissan Island on Saturday morning for what is normally a three-hour trip.

The search for the missing six continues.

The man, now in Buka Hospital, said just 300 metres off Nissan waves hitting the front of the boat caused panic, prompting Napto's wife and son Keith to jump off the boat.

The National newspaper reported that the efforts to then pick the couple up caused the boat to take on water and it quickly sank.

Call for state of emergency over food shortage

Ursula Rakova heads Tulele Peisa, which is helping people from the Carteret Islands, where there have been problems for years with sea level rise, to settle on the Bougainville mainland.

She said severe flooding in January, with king tides, made things much worse, not only in the Carterets but also nearby Tasman or Nukumanu Islands.

Ms Rakova is calling on the autonomous government to declare a state of emergency.

More Covid-19 cases in Bougainville

This comes as the office of Papua New Guinea's Pandemic Response Controller confirmed another 376 cases of the virus in the past 48 hours to Monday at noon.

It increased the country's total number of cases to 9,952.

The death toll is now 91.

As well as Bougainville, eleven other PNG provinces reported new cases that were included in the Controller's update.


Bougainville's Buka goes into Covid lockdown

He said the last official figures for Papua New Guinea's autonomous region of Bougainville were 40 cases of the coronavrius - a rise from just three last Thursday.

Toroama said Bougainville's health officials had been trying to convince people to wear masks, wash their hands and maintain social distance.

There had been criticism of Bougainvilleans failing to respond to the Covid-19 surge but Toroama said Buka town would now go into a full, 14-day, lock down.

Overwhelming majority vote independence for Bougainville

The result of the autonomous Papua New Guinea region's non-binding independence vote was announced today in Buka by the Bougainville Referendum Commission.

Polling took place over two weeks, with voters asked to choose between Bougainville having continued autonomy within PNG or the second option, becoming independent.

The overwhelming majority vote for option 2 was achieved in a huge voter turnout, with over 85 percent of those enrolled having voted.

Appeals for calm in Bougainville after killing

The region's president and police chief have called for people not to take the law into their own hands.

New Dawn FM reported dozens of houses were burnt and police cars stoned following the killing of a man on Sohano Island on Friday night.

Sebastin Siperau is reported to have died in a confrontation over money.

Police reported his relatives and friends then attacked a compound on Sohano and burnt 34 houses in the early hours of Saturday.

There were also reports some relatives went to the main town of Buka, to avenge the death.