Villagers in Solomon Islands retaliate against Asian logger

Villagers dismantling a bridge built by a logging company operating in the area.

SANTA CRUZ, 17 AUGUST 2108 (SOLOMON STAR) — Disgruntled landowners on Santa Cruz, Temotu Province, on Wednesday faced up to an Asian logger, destroying a temporary bridge the logger built some six kilometres into the forest.

A village spokesman, Glen Nhavie said the landowners of Nea village were angry the logger, Xingling Company trespassed into their land, destroyed their tabu sites and cut down the highly-priced mahogany trees.

“The landowners claim they did not give their consent to the company to cut down their mahogany trees,”  Nhavie said.

“In fact the logger was paying peanuts to some landowners for this highly-priced tree species,” he added.

He said on Wednesday, landowners, including women and children, walked five to six kilometres into the forest and destroyed the bridge, which the logger built and depended on for its operation.

“Children and women used and raised placards to call for the protection of their land.”

Nhavie said the loggers and their local partners witnessed the event.

He added the landowners urged the provincial government to investigation the alleged actions of the loggers.

“They also wanted the company to compensate them for damages done to their land, waters and trees.”

Nhavie said a prominent Temotuan and former MP Ataban Tropa was also at the scene witnessing the event.

He quoted Tropa as saying this is what can happen when leaders don’t have vision for their people.

Comments are being sought from the logging company and responsible authorities in Temotu.