Thursday, September 30, 2010

Intel ignored, says Gulf police chief



THE attack on Curtain Clough Joint Venture (CCJV) construction workers and the torching of trucks and machineries was the result of the government and LNG project developer Esso Highlands Ltd’s failure to act on recent police intelligence briefs, according to police, The National reports.

Gulf provincial police commander Snr Insp Reuben Giusu said on Tuesday that he had provided police intelligence brief about the security situation at Kaiam and Kopi LNG project sites to Esso Highlands, police headquarters and other intelligence services, but it was not acted on.

He said the brief was provided after his assessment on the first incident involving four youths who attacked a Japanese crane operator after they were terminated by CCJV.

Giusu said he and Esso Highlands community affairs officers brokered peace at Kaiam and Kopi where the incident occurred in April.

“I had cautioned them that the situation at the sites was not conducive,” he said.

“There was an apparent build-up of firearms and we even arrested some suspects.

“The situation warranted immediate response to contain the security risks and, as a result of the arms build-up, you can see what happened with CCJV.”

The intelligence report, a copy of which was provided to The National, stated: “Five suspects were locked up in April for allegedly smuggling firearms into Kikori and to Samberigi and trading them for drugs.

“However, due to insufficient evidence, they were released.

“The drugs and guns’ trades are a reality that no one really takes responsibility to eradicate or detect the network, make arrests and destroy the illegal weapons.

“Recent fighting in Erave is a clear indication that there are more sophisticated weapons in the Southern Highlands.

“Kikori has been the golden gateway for years in this illegal business; therefore, a fresh approach to the style of policing is a must.”

Giusu said from past experiences during the national elections, he had assumed that there would be violence in the Southern Highlands.

“The use of firearms and explosives in tribal fights will increase because people have excess to such weapons.”

Esso Highlands public and government affairs manager Miles Shaw said the company could not comment specifically on the intelligence reports.

However, he said the project’s security programme was designed to protect the well-being of the workforce and adjacent communities.

“Partnerships with the community remain the underpinning function of the security strategy.” 

Shaw said the project’s land and community affairs team had worked closely with the security team to achieve this goal. 

“We continue to work with local leaders and the government to address concerns and avoid impacts on the project,” he said.



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