AN army officer’s widow has finally received his remains – after 19 years of waiting for news on him.
Regina Maino was married to Corporal Marco Maino who was listed as missing in action during the Bougainville crisis. His remains, plus those of two comrades, were repatriated to Port Moresby yesterday.
“I knew he will always come back to me. I never lost hope and I had been praying for 19 years for him to return,” she said.
Corporal Maino’s comrades were Private Jimmy Julah and Private Raymond Waia. They were part of the First Royal Pacific Island Regiment during the Bougainville Crisis.
Maino said it finally brought an end to her uncertainty after the three went missing.
Regina said the last time she saw her husband was in September 1996. Her husband told her before he left to keep their three children close to her.
Defence Force commander Brigadier-General Gilbert Toropo said their mysterious disappearance caused a lot of sorrow, grief and pain among their comrades, friends and families.
Toropo said the three had gone to negotiate for peace when they went missing. He thanked the Autonomous Bougainville Government, President John Momis and the ex-combatants for their understanding and cooperation, and the Australian Defence Force for the funding and the forensic experts provided.
Momis said the crisis was the toughest time in our history.
“On behalf of the people of Bougainville and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville government, it is with pride and great sadness to bring the remains of the fallen during the days of the Bougainville crisis. Lives in the service of mankind is not lost,” Momis said.
Acting Prime Minister Leo Dion said we must not forget those who had fought for peace and stability in PNG. The National/One PNG