Koto: police are in Auki to maintain law and order
BY SAMIE WAIKORI
HONIARA Police are not in Auki to arrest anyone, Malaita’s acting head of police Eddie Koto says.
He instead said they are there to maintain law and order following an incident in the provincial capital last week that sparked hostility and likely confrontation between various groups of people in the province.
Koto made the explanation to the Island Sun yesterday following widespread speculation that Honiara police, who arrival on board Patrol boat Taro on Sunday, are in Auki to arrest those who are behind the recent rioting in Honiara.
Rumours have it that Premier Daniel Suidani is among those to be arrested.
Honiara police have been accompanied by members of the Papua New Guinea police who are in the country as part of the Solomon International Assistance Force (SIAF).
But Koto said the deployment is primarily to maintain law and order in Auki after the attempted abduction incident in Auki last Thursday.
He said since last month Auki police have been without numbers because some officers are on their annual leave.
“We currently have very limited officers on the ground to deal with anything that might arise and support is needed especially with the tense situation like what happened last week.
“This is where the deployment had come about and that is to support Auki police with resources and bring back normalcy to people and communities in the province” he says.
Koto says the team will be in Auki for sometimes and they will be engaging with the public of Auki to carry out policing work and awareness programs.
He says this is to ensure law and order is maintained and to restore public trust and confidence in the police.
“….yes we are aware of speculations about the deployment and that it was a cover-up to arrest people of interest to the police in Auki.
“But this is not true and I want Auki residents and the people of Malaita to know that.”
Koto says he had consulted Premier Daniel Suidani on the purpose of the deployment upon their arrival in Auki so the MARA government is aware of the purpose of the police presence.
He says they are working together with the provincial government and are supporting them with logistic as well liaising with the premier, and updating him on their work in Auki.
Koto calls on the public of Auki and the traveling public of Malaita to support the team and Auki police while they are there to restore law and order.
He said the PNG officers on the ground are not military personnel, but police officers.
He says rumors can sometimes cause fear, anger and other negative reactions from people.