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200 Bougainville men loot Chinese shop on Buka in second town raid

Buka Island

Buka from the air ... Photo: Earthwalk Project

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Gorethy Kenneth in Buka

More than 200 men armed with knives and guns from all over Bougainville have looted a Chinese shop in Buka in the early hours one morning late this week.

Bougainville police said they could not do much as the men were from all over the island looting and taking anything they could lay their hands on – literally stripping the shop empty.

The men, mostly youths, came in numbers at about two o’clock in the early hours of yesterday with almost 10 dinghies waiting to transport their “early hour shopping goods” to their destinations – Kokopau, Sohano and nearby Buka town areas.

This was the second break-and-enter of the week – the first one was on Tuesday night when a group of men stormed another Chinese shop in town and stole mobiles and other expensive items from the shop.

The Post-Courier spoke to two men who were part of the group last night who said the men are planning another break and enter on another shop also right in the middle of Buka town.

They said this was a message for the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the leaders who are not helping the ordinary Bougainville youths in empowering them with projects to make their living.

They are also claiming that they will not stop unless the leaders come out clear on their laws on making business in Buka, Arawa and Buin.

Late on Wednesday, about 6pm, a private jet carrying a high-powered Chinese delegation touched down in Buka for impact project meetings with President John Momis and his government on the way forward for Bougainville.

The paper has not been privy to information on the visit, even after two visits and calls to the Parliament for comments.

But the Post-Courier was reliably told the high-powered delegation is here to finalise arrangements on the seven MOUs signed in China and to proceed with development ideas on the latter, with mining being the top of the list.

Gorethy Kenneth is the Bougainville bureau journalist of the Post-Courier and a graduate of the University of Papua New Guinea.