Former Rebel Leader Elected as President Bougainville | Papua New Guinea

Former Rebel Leader Elected as President Bougainville | Papua New Guinea

Ismael Toro Ama is set to lead an independent talks on an autonomous region in a remote region east of Papua New Guinea.

Former rebel commander Ismael Toro Amaga was elected president of Bougainville, an autonomous region in Papua New Guinea, elections officials said Wednesday. Toroama will lead a talks seeking independence.

The general election said Toro Amaga had been defeated in the open field for the first time since Bougainville voted overwhelmingly from Papua New Guinea late last year.

Bougainville, a group of mineral-rich and lush islands in the South Pacific, has barely developed since the Civil War, which killed 20,000 people in 1998.

This conflict mainly fought over how the profits of the lucrative Panguna gold and copper mines on Bougainville Island should be shared, as well as the environmental damage caused by mining.

Toro Ama was the commander of the separatist Bougainville Revolutionary Army and later took part in the peace and disarmament process.

His victory marks a break from the current administration, headed by President John Momis, after the government’s candidate was prematurely removed from the region’s preferred voting system.

Last year’s non-binding independent polls were part of the peace process that ended the conflict, although competing claims for development rights for long-closed mines remain.

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