Police intercept group of Bougainvilleans in 3 high-powered boats outside Gizo
BY ALFRED PAGEPITU
POLICE response team (PRT) yesterday intercepted and arrested about 30 Bougainvilleans who had reportedly crossed border in response to the recent death of a man in Noro, Western province.
PRT, acting on intel that a group of Bougainvillean men had entered our waters in three ray boats, moved in with Gizo officers onboard the patrol boat Auki (04) and intercepted them between Gizo and Vella la Vella yesterday afternoon.
It is reported that the group of men includes former militants from the Bougainville crisis, and were on their way to Noro following the recent death of one of their kinsmen there.
The men are said to be from the Siwai region in Bougainville.
On February 6 this year, a man died in Noro. He was part Bougainville and Shortland islands. Police have been intensely investigating this case since.
Following the death, police had also stepped up surveillance and fast-craft patrols of the waters in the Western region.
Following the arrest, the men were brought over to Gizo in the late afternoon. Their arrival was received by a packed Gizo wharf with curious public wanting to take a glimpse of the border crossers.
Meanwhile, police have again reiterated the call on relatives of the deceased to refrain from taking the law into their own hands and allow police investigations to continue.
Police also warns that inviting outsiders to come and aggravate the issue is illegal and will be dealt with.
Public in Gizo have praised the RSIPF for the swift action taken, and also appeal to the province’s and national leaders to address this matter immediately.
Yesterday’s events have come as a shock for members of public in Gizo, many reliving the old days during the Bougainville crisis when everyone was living with uncertainty and fear.