THE presence of the Police Patrol Boat ‘Taro’ in Auki Malaita Province is causing fear to the people of the province, therefore the public wants to see it leave as soon as possible.
This sentiment was shared by Malaitan ethnic leaders, during a meeting with Patrol Boat Operation Commander Leslie Kili, Inspector Michael Ramosaea, and Inspector Charles Eddie Koto.
The trio held a meeting with the ethnic leaders at the Malaita Provincial Chambers Conference room, yesterday afternoon.
Solomon Star Auki was told that the leaders are of the view that the Patrol Boat’s presence in Auki sends a wrong message to the people.
This came following political differences between the Malaita Alliance for Rural Advancement (MARA) government and the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) government.
The ethnic leaders said the presence of the Patrol Boat in Auki is intimidating.
They then demanded the Patrol Boat to leave as early as possible as Auki police are capable of handling law and order situations in Auki and Malaita as a whole.
They believe that Patrol Boat Taro is here with hidden motives, backed by the Sogavare-led DCGA government.
However, responding to the ethnic leaders’ demand, Patrol Boat Operation Commander Leslie Kili said their presence in Auki is part of the police normal duty responding to law and order situations in Auki.
Mr Kili said Police is neutral in its work. He said its presence in Auki has nothing to do with politics as many have believed.
He said they are not taking orders from the Prime Minister and the DCGA government as some believed.
“We only responded to a situation that happened last week when three ex-militant were apprehended in Auki.
‘Threats were issued and weapons were involved. Therefore, to prevent the situation from further escalating, police saw fit to send deployment to Auki to control the situation,” Kili explains.
Mr Kili also told the meeting that he is assessing the situation on the ground and will consult with Police Headquarters in Honiara before deciding on when the Patrol Boat will be leaving the shores of Malaita.
In the meantime, he said the Patrol Boat is not in Auki to do any arrests as speculated on social media.
This paper was informed that the Patrol Boat will be here for at least two weeks.
By WILSON SAENI
Auki News Bureau