Women fear for the worst
BY TERENCE ZIRU
Gizo News Bureau
Women of Kuava in South Vella La Vella are calling on the Provincial Police Commander (PPC) of Western Province to deal with the rising threats fueled by Logging disagreements in their community.
Reports received said that a group of Kubokale Sarapaito Tribesmen led by their Chief Mr. Russell Laise stormed a residential home at night resulting in damages to properties as well as grievous bodily harm to others.
Several women who wished to remain anonymous accused the Chief of encouraging and inciting violence in their community, in so doing, taking the law into their own hands.
It is unclear at this stage that dispute over land is the reason for the attacks.
However, it is said that the previous incidents have seen dozens of men led into the forest to threaten and stop a logging company operating in another tribal land.
The concerned women said, “The issue has brought fear and risk for our families as they go about their daily lives.”
“In one separate incident, the Chief’s son had reportedly threatened a company working with a machete.”
“This is so scary for us and I want the Police quickly to address the matter,” another woman said.
It is understood that KuriKuri Sarapaito is currently partnering with a logging firm named Shalom Company to log a piece of land they claimed ownership of after a Customary Land Appeal Court (CLAC) decision last year 2019.
Villagers in Kuava are calling on the Western Province PPC to take the matter seriously as injuries have already been recorded, 3 young men were referred to Gizo Hospital by Kolokolo clinic for serious wounds early this week.
Two other persons have been referred to Gizo Hospital on Thursday after being physically assaulted during a separate incident reported to have happened at the logging company’s log pond area.
It is reported that a large group of men landed at the log pond and attacked company workers.
Victims of the clash said that they would lodge formal complaints to Gizo Police.
However, the Police are yet to make any comment on the logging row.