RSIPF arrests 20 suspects over logging issue in Western Province

Officers of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force at the Gizo Police Station in Western Province have arrested 20 suspects for alleged unlawful assembly and criminal trespass at the Kurikuri camp of the Shalom Company Limited in Western Province on 25 February 2021.

An initial report says the suspects, who claim to be landowners, entered into the Kurikuri Sarapaito logging concession area on Vella la Vella Island and threatened company workers. During that time, the suspects ordered the company to stop the hauling operations and demanded the Company to pay compensation.

Provincial Police Commander (PPC) Western Province Chief Superintendent Mathias Lenialu says, “The matter has been reported at the Gizo Police Station and officers carried out an investigation into the incident.”

 “A team of officers from the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and the Provincial Response Unit (PRU) responded to the incident and arrested 20 suspects and placed them in the cell at the Gizo Police Station.”

“The suspects have been dealt with and charged with unlawful assembly contrary to section 74 of the penal code and criminal trespass contrary to section 189 (1)(a) of the Penal Code. They have been released on bail to appear in the Gizo Magistrates’ Court on 29 March 2021,” says PPC Lenialu. “I call on our good people in the Kuava area on Vella la Vella Island to refrain from taking the law into your own hands. Please contact the responsible authorities like the Ministry of Forestry if you have any matters regarding logging or the police if you think a crime is committed at a logging operation.”

– RSIPF Media