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 You are in: Special Report: 1998: PNG  
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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 21 January, 1998, 07:56 GMT
How peace broke out
Demonstrators in Port Moresby, PNG's capital
Demonstrators in Port Moresby, PNG's capital
  • April 1988 Conflict over the Panguna Copper Mine begins after landowners claim compensation from the mine's Australian owners.

  • May 1989 Production stops because of further attacks. A state of emergency is announced soon after.

  • March 1990 The Bougainville Revolutionary Army takes control of the island, and PNG imposes a trade blockade, which Australian diplomats estimate leads to 3,000 deaths.

  • October 1991 Government forces claim to have regained control of the island, but the BRA denies it.

  • 1993 Fighting intensifies, human rights abuses by both sides reported.

  • August 1994 Government recaptures Panguna, and a regional peace-keeping force is deployed.

  • 1995 Peace talks in Australia suspended after an escalation in BRA violence.

  • 1996 Further violence leads to the blockade being reinforced and a major offensive against rebel-held areas. An analysis of government forces reveals them to be disorganised and lacking in morale.

  • February 1997 Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan denies reports that he is employing mercenaries to finish off the rebels. A $30 million contract with Sandline International was for military training and advice, he said.

  • March 1997 Brigadier-General Jerry Singirok refuses to co-operate, and forces the arrest of Sandline employees. Chan sacks Singirok, and thousands of demonstrators rampage through Port Moresby in protest.

  • April 1997 Inquiry clears Sir Julius of misconduct. But he is defeated in a general election in June and replaced by Bill Skate. A truce is agreed.

  • January 1998 Peace talks to cement the truce are held in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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