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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 1, 2000 - Papua New Guinea Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---The residence of Papua New Guinea's High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, Ponabe Yuwa, has been ransacked, allegedly by Malaita Eagle Force members.

Government sources told the Post-Courier this was due to tension between Mr. Yuwa and Ramo Dasabya, a Cabinet minister in the last Solomon Islands government.

The Foreign Affairs Department has recommended to the National Executive Council that the PNG office in Honiara be closed for security reasons.

Sources said the tension between the two men started after the death of an Eastern Highlander in the Solomon Islands. They claimed Mr. Ponabe had called the minister to help with funeral arrangements for the Papua New Guinean, but the minister had slammed the phone down.

Sources said that during the incident and just as PNG citizens were about to be repatriated, Mr. Dasabya's brother tried to talk to Mr. Ponabe about the repatriation of the children of the Minister's sister. The sister is married to a Papua New Guinean. However, they said Mr. Ponabe was understood to have told one brother to tell his older brother to apologies to Mr. Ponabe before repatriation arrangements would be made.

Sources said that Mr. Dasabya is understood to have gone to the High Commissioner's house to see him at around 9:00 p.m. but the High Commissioner was not in. On returning home later, Mr. Ponabe was told by his security guards that Mr. Dasabya had come to see him.

Sources said Mr. Ponabe was alleged to have driven to Mr. Dasabya's house and an argument ensued between the two men. Mr. Ponabe then returned home and about midnight, about 12 men were alleged to have entered Mr. Ponabe's house and ransacked it. It is not known if the men were armed. Sources said it was now up to Cabinet to make a decision as to whether to close the High Commission office.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

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