People of Unung-Sigite SABL area cry for help

The customary landowners of Unung-Sigite Special Agriculture Business Lease (SABL) area in West Pomio, East New Britain Province are crying out for help to save their land.

Promises by the Prime Minister to cancel the SABLs, stop illegal logging and to return the land to its rightful owners, as recommended by the commission have not been fulfilled.

Ignatius Matapia from Malakur Village in the Unung-Sigite SABL area says his people are still struggling to keep the logging company off their land.

“My people are defending their land against the logging company every day, mounting protests and building blockades.

“But it is a constant battle to protect our land and our rights as the logging company uses the police to intimidate arrest and beat,” he said.

They had petitioned their local member Elias Kapavore but are yet to get a response.

Matapia questioned why the Government is not taking any action to help them in their fight.

He called on the Prime Minister to come clean on his promise to cancel all SABL leases in the country.

Meantime, about 10,000 post cards signed by concerned customary landowners across the country were delivered yesterday to the Lands Department calling for action on SABL and land grab.

Quintina Naime