| Radio New Zealand | Extracts
BUKA - A geologist has been killed in Bougainville by what president John Momis has described as a group of criminal thugs.
The victim, Terry Win Kilya, from Enga Province was an employee of Kalia-Toremana Joint Venture Limited, which has been conducting mineral exploration in a disputed area.
Kalia Group said the geologist “received fatal injuries in a fall whilst undertaking field work on the company’s Mt Tore tenements around midday (Monday)”.
But Dr Momis linked the death to criminal elements in an area where tensions exist due to unresolved social problems related to the mining exploration work.
He said it was deeply regrettable that a talented and experienced geologist, who came to the region to share his skills and expertise, had been killed.
“Bougainvilleans have spoken in the referendum vote that we want to be liberated and free to charter our new path ahead, but this sort of unnecessary incident is disheartening,” Dr Momis said.
A belkol [reconciliation payment] of K100,000 has been paid to the victim’s family.
“In our Melanesian way and culture, we want to truly say sorry to the people of Enga and the family of the late Terry Win Kilya by extending our ‘belkol’ assistance to late Terry’s family,” Dr Momis said.
Kalia said it was working with local police and officers of the Department of Minerals and Energy to determine the full circumstances relating to the incident. The company did not mention an attack or criminal elements.
However, Dr Momis expressed disgust at the employer for allowing its personnel to venture into the area where the incident occurred, knowing full well that there were criminal elements resisting exploration there.
Dr Momis ordered the indefinite suspension of the company’s exploration licence and called for it to explain why such an avoidable tragedy was allowed to occur.
“The company has miserably failed to address its social issues and to fulfil its corporate social responsibility as a client of the Autonomous Bougainville Government,” he said.