Villagers in fear after mining attack

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BY ALFRED PAGEPITU

People in Jejevo, Isabel province, are said to be living in fear after an armed group of men from a mining company stormed their village destroying homes and properties.

Report says the incident occurred on Monday afternoon, this week, and the group of men were employees of Sunshine Minerals mining company.

Warren Dao Eaoleni told Island Sun yesterday the men were armed with chainsaws, bars and knives.

Eaoleni said the Jejevo community hall was damaged, villagers’ canoes destroyed, pigs killed, a resthouse damaged, solar panels and fibre boats.

He said it is believed that this action by the company stems from a disagreement it had with landowners.

He said it was hard for police to reach the village because it is in a remote area.

“I am deeply concerned at the way these security officers are treating the community,” he said.

“It is the same group that is causing a lot of nuisance for people of Jejevo.

They have now moved to damage our properties and threatened villagers with knife when some tried to stop them, but they feared them so they went off.

“Some have to leave the village and go to live in my bush camp.”

He said the sad thing was that villagers did not get any support from police to stop the security from destroying their properties because of no network coverage to quickly inform the police.

Meanwhile, Eaoleni is in Honiara to discuss the issue with the Police Commissioner to act upon the conflict between the security officers and the villagers.

When contacted Buala Police confirmed to Island Sun that they have received the report and follow up on them.

“We have a number of police officers including our response team deployed at the Camp site and Jejevo to assess the damage.

“We police would like to call on both parties to remain calm while we carry out the investigation, ” the officer said.

Comments could not be sought from Sunshine Mineral mining company.


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