COMING FOR CUCUMBER

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Police call for stop as illegal border crossing increases

BY JENNIFER KUSAPA

Illegal border crossing at the western border is continuing unabated, especially near the Shortlands.

Reports say Bougainvilleans are entering in search of sea cucumbers.

And, Police has had to resort to appealing to our neighbouring Bougainville islanders to respect Solomon Islands’ state of emergency and its associated border and travel restrictions.

Police Commissioner Mostyn Mangau utilised yesterday’s press conference to further this call.

He says in this week alone, several illegal crossings were recorded by police manning the border. In all incidents, Bougainvilleans crossed from their side into Solomon territory.

He adds that his officers confronted the illegal border crossers and told them they were breaching the country’s border and travel restrictions.

In one incident, Mangau said, a Bougainville man picked up a spear gun and aimed it at the police officers when they approached the Bougainvillean’s boat.

Mangau said after some negotiations they finally left and went back to their side of the border.

Mangau said from reports police received, the Bougainvilleans entered the border to dive beche-de-mer (sea cucumber) and also to buy beche-de-mer from people in Choiseul and Western provinces.

He said PNG nationals especially Bougainvilleans must respect our country as Solomon Islands is a sovereign nation.

 “I make this call because in one occasion on Tuesday (14 September 2021) early morning a group of about 20 people entered our Territorial water and do fishing and dive beche-de-mer (sea cucumber) at Nunungari Island, an Island in our Territorial water.”

Meanwhile when asked whether the current number of officers deployed at the border is enough, Mangau confidently said yes.

“The number of officers deployed to the Border is enough to protect the border at the Western part of the Solomons SI/PNG border.”

He adds, so far there are no reports of illegal crossing at the Malaita Outer Island Border, but police are still monitoring that part of the border as well.


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