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Hundreds homeless

Samlimsan Company forces out homeowners using armed men


An armed Samlimsan employee stands guard with a bush knife as a buldozer continue clearing off the land. Photo by DOUGLAS VAHIA

SAMLIMSAN Logging Company has forcibly evicted hundreds of homeowners without a thought for their plight for proper relocation.

Close to 200 men, women and children who have settled, many for more than a decade, within the over-10 hectares of land the company claimed at Henderson, east Honiara, have already vacated the area because of threats since last month.

While many have settled elsewhere, some are still looking for sanctuary, with the remaining 200-plus people pleading for justice, and for the government to seriously look deeper into the issue.

Samlimsan claims ownership of more than 10 hectares of land in parcel number 379, which was originally owned by Pacific Sec, a company with and existence also heavily questioned.

The paper yesterday witnessed armed men said to be hired by Samlimsan Company guarding its bulldozer which has been clearing off buildings and properties about 100 metres opposite the GBR Area in Henderson.

GBR community leaders in a short interview yesterday relayed that the remaining people have been hit by disaster as a result of the mayhem, and are resorting to tents for shelter.

Community Chairman, Ataban Baki said Samlimsan Company entered the area by force with men armed with knives and bows and arrows to chase people out from the area.

By doing this, Samlimsan ignored the initial conditions set when they had a dialogue with the settlers on February 20.

“We have been forced out without prior evacuation order or any lawful process.

“The company has agreed with the plan of the province to work with the national government to relocate people living here.

“The initial understanding of the company and the community was to slow the evacuation operation until people have moved out, before the company can come in.”

Mr Baki said three resolutions have been passed with the company Director, Lawyer and Camp Manager.

“We came up with the understanding that we will work with people here to talk with people, and the company will buy property in a proper way

“The conditions we have all agreed on is that the company wait for every people living here to vacate the land before it can move in.

“But after three days, the company moved in with a bulldozer and threatened us to evacuate the whole area.”

The community leaders including Chairman, his Vice, chiefs and church leaders have voiced similar sentiments that the company has breached and failed to abide by the country’s laws.

“That understanding we gave to the Guadalcanal Minister for Lands, and he prepared a Motion without Notice before the Provincial Assembly and was approved by Assembly to relocate people living within this plot of land.

“But the company has come in force, armed its employees with knives, bow and arrows come in and harassed our people.

“The company had instructed us that after April 7, 2017, it will not pay the properties but use bulldozer to move us out without serving any legal notice, eviction order or whatsoever.”

Mr Baki said the police which are trusted by people in its primary role to protect lives and properties has also turned a blind eye on them.

“These people are taking laws into their own hands.

“These paid thugs just come and threatened more than 400 plus people living here with knife, pinch bar, bow and arrows to tell people to move out before 7 April.”

They police call on the community after the matter was reported, but as Community Vice Chairman adds on, “still allow this ordinary people to carry law in their own hands”.

Island Sun in its quest to get comments from the company contacted its office yesterday afternoon but a staff said its owner, a Malaysian, Mr Pau Kiu Den, was out from office.

The staff, a female could not provide his mobile or email contact, or his whereabouts when the paper insisted.

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