I hope your readers will forgive this second article to your newspaper in just a matter of days, but when I wrote my first one regarding the need for justice and lasting reconciliation it coincided with the International Day of Peace which was celebrated on 21 September in Honiara.
I don't know whether Joseph Sangu, who I had mentioned in my original article, was prompted as a result to announce, on Monday, that he is truly dedicated to peace, as was broadcast in a news bulletin on the SIBC, but I welcome his re-affirmation of what he first said three years ago.
His past militant involvement, for which he was convicted, sentenced and served imprisonment cannot be erased from recent history, but he can make atonement by fulfilling his renewed pledge to be a peace maker by telling what he knows to the Royal Solomon Island Police (RSIP) of the instigators of the ethnic tension, to facilitate a proper investigation of the causes and to bring to justice those who have evaded the kind of punishment he has already received. He can also demonstrate his willingness to walk the path of peace by participating, fully, in the forthcoming Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
It was regrettable that he failed to take my advice to lay down his arms at the onset of the ethnic trouble (in early 1999) and pursue a peaceful path in line with the then negotiations being conducted between the SIAC government and the Guadalcanal Provincial representatives
To his credit, however, Sangu when originally arrested on Bungana Island and held in custody awaiting trial, wrote a letter from his Rove prison cell calling on his "followers" to end the "struggle." What he had said in his letter was made public knowledge via the media, including the national broadcaster. His release on bail and subsequent evasion of re-arrest, by following Keke to the Weathercoast, prevented any chance of his plea being heeded.
He also apologised to the members of the Peace Corps following an incident when, "his boys," had fired on them as they were travelling by canoe near a Catholic Mission on Guadalcanal. This apology was made at a time when such an incident could have jeopardised the efforts then being made to end the ethnic crisis.
I ask Joseph Sangu to now heed the words which were spoken during the recent Peace Day celebrations and let them become a uniting call for all. "Yumi Togeda, Go for Peace, Unity and Prosperity."
Peace will be best served when those who instigated the likes of Sangu and his fellow travellers to start the campaign of militancy, and thus virtually destroyed the Solomons, face the music they deserve and lose the immunity they so far appear to have enjoyed, at the expense of justice and reconciliation.
Walking the Path of Peace
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