SOLOMONS VILLAGERS ALARMED AT CRATER TRESPASS

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Western Province’s Kolombangara Isle hosts volcano

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Aug. 30, 2011) – The Leanabako tribe association on Kolombangara Island in the Western province of the Solomon Islands have raised concerns over what they term "illegal entrance" by certain groups into the crater on the island’s mountain area.

[PIR editor’s note: Kolombangara Island is a part of the New Georgia Islands in the Western Solomons, more than 300 kilometers northwest of the capital in Honiara, Guadalcanal.]

Chairman for the association Lilly Dani told Solomon Star that some of the rocks inside the crater have been drilled for unknown reasons. She said such practices have deprived the rights of the indigenous landowners.

A member of the association Peter Ghasi said few weeks ago a group from the landowners visited the crater and found out that some of the rock tops have been drilled. He said it seems some people have collected samples from the rock. Mr. Ghasi said a party will be sent to the crater up in the mountains soon to further investigate the matter.

Ms. Danny said, as indigenous landowners of the island, they want answers as to who was involved in such illegal practices. She said they will pursue every means to find out who is behind this move. "We are the rightful owners, and why have we not been consulted on this trip?" she said.

It was highlighted that a group of mineral exploration group have visited the crater looking for minerals. Meanwhile the Kolombangara Island Biodiversity Conservation Association (KIBCA) has raised their concern over the incident.

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