Clans differ over rocks

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday July 30th, 2013


TWO clans at Gabensis village, Morobe, are at loggerheads over whether to allow a company to remove soil and rocks from the village.

The China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) is the developer of the Lae Port tidal basin at the city’s main wharf and wants to extract soil and rock from the village.

Montar clan chief Apek Nanof said last Friday his clan welcomed the company to extract sediment and rocks on the piece of land known as Jangafar.  

He was responding to comments by Seref clan leader Awa Naimen who said his people did not want CHEC to fell trees and dynamite the land to use as a quarry.

Naimen claimed that the Seref and Marumwa clan, the two biggest in the village, were not consulted and did not want the piece of land to be used by the company.

But Nanof said the land traditionally belonged to the Montar clan, which shared common boundaries with the Chuaif and Mponenan clans.   

Nanof said he, as the principal landowner, had signed an agreement with CHEC for the work to continue.

“Naiman has nothing to do with my land and has no connection with my clan and my people are happy for CHEC to continue extracting rocks on this portion of land,” he said.

He challenged Naiman to take the matter to court.

CHEC project manager Jianhua Ma said the company took landowner issues seriously and wanted to ensure there was no friction between the clans.

“We are a responsible company and not new to disputes over land,” he said.

“We welcome representatives to come and talk to the Independent Public Business Corporation and us.”