Former rebel military commander Ishmael Toroama elected as Bougainville president

Diplomat Today

Ishmael Toroama is set to lead independence talks for the autonomous territory in the remote east of Papua New Guinea.

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Ishmael ToroamaFormer rebel military commander Ishmael Toroama has been elected as president of Bougainville, an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea, electoral officials said on Wednesday. Toroama is set to lead talks seeking independence.

The general election was the first since Bougainville voted overwhelmingly to separate from Papua New Guinea at the end of last year, with Toroama defeating an open field, the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner said.

Bougainville, a mineral-rich and lush group of islands in the South Pacific, has developed little since a decade-long civil war that claimed as many as 20,000 lives came to an end in 1998.

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