BY ALFRED PAGEPITU
WESTERN Province Premier Mr Wayne Maepioh has declared the closure of schools and bottle shops in Gizo and nearby islands, until further notice.
Businesses have also closed for safety purposes following yesterday’s incident.
Maepioh’s decision is in response to the current tensions in the province following the escape of the group of about 30 Bougainvillean men who were arrested yesterday while on their way to Noro town.
The men had reportedly travelled in three ray-boats to Noro following news of the death of a man, who was part Bougainville, in the town on February 6 this year.
In a press conference yesterday Maepioh said Gizo, Munda and Noro schools and liquor outlets will remain closed, along with public bars and night clubs.
A curfew is also imposed from 10pm to 6am. Police will be questioning people if they move around during those times.
During daytimes, public services such as markets and shops will still continue as normal.
“To my good people of Western Province and elsewhere, as your leader for Western Province has appeal for your cooperation and understanding on the current situation happen in Western Province.
“We understand the issue is with the police and we just wait for the outcome of their discussion with the police. I appeal to the general public to remain calm, avoid suspicious and stop spreading rumors or false information that will escalate the situation.”
Maepio also appeals to the escapees to turn themselves in and let police handle the case of the death of their relative.