10 May 2018

Solomons police chief rejects accusations of inaction over logging row

6:27 pm on 10 May 2018

The Solomon Islands' police commissioner has rejected accusations by the premier of Makira and Ulawa Province that police failed to take action in a recent confrontation between foreign loggers and landowners on Makira.

No caption

Photo: RNZ/Koroi Hawkins

The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation reported premier Stanley Siapu questioning why police did not respond immediately to the incident in West Makira during which a group of Asian logging workers allegedly attacked a village in retaliation for an earlier attack on one of their colleagues.

Mr Siapu also accused police of arresting only locals when it came to confrontations with loggers on Makira.

Police Commissioner Matthew Varley rejected Mr Siapu's accusations and said police did attend to the incident and both parties refused to press charges but agreed to settle the matter through reconciliation ceremonies and compensation payments outside of court.

"So those investigations are still ongoing. I think it is not fair to say that the police haven't been involved at all. I had a very extensive report from my PPC down at Makira. And we are confident that the police have done what they can particularly in relation to reducing the conflict between the two groups," said Matthew Varley.

Solomon Islands' police commissioner Matthew Varley.

Solomon Islands' police commissioner Matthew Varley. Photo: Solomon Islands UNDP

Mathew Varley said there had been one arrest made so far in relation to the incident of a man who injured a truck driver working for the logging company.

He said that person has been charged to appear in court at a later date.

He said investigations were ongoing and called anyone with questions or information about the event to contact police in the provincial capital Kira Kira.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs