Activist calls for veterans ministry

Former PNGDF soldier and human right activist Justine Kungkei. Picture: POST COURIER

BUKA, 22 NOVEMBER 2019 (POST COURIER) – Former PNGDF soldier and human right activist Justine Kungkei is calling on the national government to create a veterans affairs ministry.

The main purpose for this call is to cater for and compensate all soldiers in their involvement in the Bougainville Crisis from 1989 to 1999.

As a former soldier deployed to Bougainville during the crisis,Kungkei said a lot of these soldiers now retired still have emotional scars, and pellets still stuck in their bodies.

“We are now facing the real hash reality of the physiological effects of the Bougainville crisis when we were deployed to do the governments dirty work on Bougainville,” he said.

“Former soldiers like us and those who are currently serving and who were deployed to Bougainville deserve to be compensated and that is why I am now calling on the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, to create a veterans affairs ministry that will cater for us.

“The Bougainville government did well when they created there and I don’t see any reason why the National Government cannot create ours,” Kungkei said.

“Today in Papua New Guinea and also everywhere in the world we veteran’s especially former soldiers are like physiological zombies walking around the streets and what does the government do to say thank you to us? Nothing.

“The executive powers and decisions that were made then resulted in the Bougainville crisis and then us getting deployed over there is a result of an uncoordinated decision by the then government.

“They never ever realised it would turn out bad with a lot of lives lost and a lot of soldiers being dead.

“We need a national veteran’s ministry created as soon as possible to work on our compensations right away,” he said.

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