Violence Erupts As Solomon Islands Police Try To Evict Squatters

Mob storms Hatanga Company houses at Tinge Ridge with rocks, iron bars

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, May 3, 2017) – A group of angry group of men armed with rocks, bows and iron bars stormed the premises of the Hatanga Company at Tinge Ridge this morning, causing damage to homes and property.

The illegal settlers retaliated after a home was burned down early this morning by an unknown group of people.

[PIR editor's note: According to an email PIR received on May 5, 2017 from Hatanga Ltd's Managing Director Mr. Jay Bartlett the home in questions was a house belonging to the company which was burned by the illegal settlers.]

It is believed the situation erupted following last week’s demolition exercise carried out by Hatanga to clear illegal settlers off its land at the Tinge Ridge area.

[PIR editor's note: On May 2, 2017 Solomon Star reported that 'The Commissioner of Lands Nelson Noapu yesterday confirmed that Hatanga Limited is the rightful owner of land in the Independence Valley, West Honiara.']

Members of the Police Response Team (PRT) and their counterparts from the Participating Police Force (PPF) were alerted to the scene and quickly brought the situation under control.

[PIR editor's note: According to an email PIR received on May 5, 2017 from Hatanga Ltd's Managing Director Mr. Jay Bartlett 'the sheriff of the High Court and Royal Solomon Islands Police based on a High Court Order' were the ones who carried out the eviction. Mr. Bartlett stated that he 'had a meeting with the police commissioner and prime minister on Thursday 4th and are working to find a peaceful solution to the High Court Order.  (The Company is) also working with community leaders, police to maintain law and order in and around the areas that are affected.']

SIBC News was at the scene early this morning and saw the police action and the police circle overhead.

The men who stormed the Hatanga headquarters are believed to be from Temotu province. Meanwhile, more police officers have been deployed to bring the situation under control.

However details of the situation are still sketchy at midday today.

Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation
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