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Many Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels in PNG still alive, report of last angel passing on incorrect

A local chief from the Kebara Village in Kokoda in Papua New Guinea's Northern Province, has opposed newspaper reports that the last of Papua New Guinea's famous Fuzzy Wuzzy angels had died during Christmas last year.

Benjamin Ijumi is the son of a World War II carrier, and since 1994 has been coordinating the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Program in the country, and closely working with the Australian Veterans Department and various Returned and Services League Rotary Clubs of Australia.

Chief Ijumi who had finished school in 1969 had taken interest in the cause his father had helped fought for, and had since been following the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels history.

He told NBC News that there are many so called fuzzy wuzzy angels still alive and living across the country.

"The perception that of the last Fuzzy Wuzzy angel is incorrect.

"There are many fuzzy wuzzy angels still alive and living around the country.

"One of them still alive is Francis Simeni from Botue Village in Kokoda, the other is Redmond Lasibori from Kelaton Village and another is Onesmus Konene from Seremi Village in Oro Bay LLG, all from Northern province.

"All of these men and the many others across the country are living testimonies of the Fuzzy Wuzzy angels."


Chief Benjamin Ijumi says, the government of Papua New Guinea must establish a Veterans Agency and Department to honour the many men who have helped fought in World War II in the country.

According to Ijumi, 10,000 men in Kokoda, had been initially recruited by Captain Kinsol of the Australian army during the war, as Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, about 20,000 in the entire Northern Province and about 55,000 across the country.

Chief Ijumi says apart from the fuzzy wuzzy angels, or carriers, there were also veterans who were trained and fought alongside the Australians and the allied forces during the war.

He says a Veterans Department would be responsible for looking after the welfare of these men, as well as making them recognized and appreciated for their various roles, just like in Australia.

"There are so many Fuzzy Wuzzy angels still alive in Northern province and even across the entire country.

"We need to do more research, and the government must look at this.

"The government must help people like us who've been doing this over the past two decades.

"Because of my interest in the fuzzy wuzzy angels, I've taken on this job of documenting their history, and I've been able to help the Department of Veteran Affairs in Canberra and veterans RSL clubs in Australia.

"I want to see the government support this program and even set up a Veterans Department so our history of the war and those involved in it can be properly documented for the people of Papua New Guinea.

NBC News/ PNG Today
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