10 arrested after riot at project site

National, Normal


TEN villagers have been arrested for destroying properties at the multi-million kina cassava project in the Rigo district, of Central province. 
Police said yesterday that the Bore villagers had gone on a rampage at the project site after a woman from the village was prevented by a project site manager from selling her garden produce outside the project gates.
Police said although the amount of damage caused was undisclosed, the destroyed properties included the employees temporary sleeping quarters in the project site.
The cassava project is a joint venture between landowners and their South Korean partners, to grow, process and ship cassava, known locally as tapioca, to South Korea for use in the manufacture of the country’s favourite liquor.
The area is also home to the cashew nuts and mango growing estates initiated by the Government.  
According to police reports, the woman had complained about her treatment to her relatives, who then went to the campsite in numbers and assaulted one company employee while a community police officer, who tried to intervene, was also assaulted.
Police went to the area on Wednesday to investigate and arrest 10 villagers.
It is not known whether they had been charged.
In a separate incident, Inau-Auni village in Bereina district remained tense this week after two houses were burned to the ground following an argument over the death of a woman.
Police said the death occurred after an argument over ownership of a portion of land that was used for gardening.
It was during the exchange that a fight broke out and the woman was hit with an unknown object, killing her instantly. 
The involvement of chiefs has controlled the situation for awhile but police presence was  still needed.