11 Oct 2011

PNG forestry watchdog says logging company involved in alleged police attack

3:24 pm on 11 October 2011

A forestry industry watchdog in Papua New Guinea says police officers involved in an alleged assault on villagers in East New Britain were flown in by the logging company involved in developing the area.

The Eco-Forestry Forum has reported villagers in West Pomio were harassed and assaulted by about half a dozen officers in response to their opposition to Gilford Limited's plans for the area.

The Executive Director of the Eco Forestry Forum, Thomas Paka, says his group has sent a team of investigators to the villages of Bairaman and Totongpal to document the severity of the attacks.

"Some of the landowners were not consulted. People were saying that you kept us in the dark yet these are our resources. Those people who actually oppose the logging operations were assaulted. We confirmed that the plane in which the policemen were flown in on was owned by the logging company."

Thomas Paka says he's pleased Papua New Guinea police have committed to a thorough investigation of the incident.