Locals blame company for land disputes

Momase

A RESOURCE association in Madang are claiming that Japanese company Jant Timbers Ltd, which operated in the area from 1972 for 2010, felled and cleared trees and destroyed all land marks used for identifying clan boundaries.
Chairman of the Gogol-Naru Resource Owners’ Association Essau Ware, speaking at a gathering to address issues affecting the Transgogol people after the company wound down operations, said: “Today we can’t identify our clan boundaries, there are no signs left for us to do so.”
Ware said most of the tribal fights in the Transgogol area started from land disputes because people could not identify boundaries and arguments and violence started.
He said the first land dispute murder was that of the vice chairman of the association, Gala Tomeg. Seven others were killed on the same day in June 2013.
Ware said the disputes have continued.
Jant Timber’s assistant forestation operation manager Bruno Tenfop confirmed they cleared everything and did not leave a trace of the boundaries.
Tenfop said there was nothing they could do go against the commands given by superiors to preserve the land marks.
Environmentalist Tom Pringel said land issue was a very sensitive subject to discuss in the Transgogol area because one could expect violence to break out.
“So when I go there to do research on the damage done by the timber company, I refrain myself from asking whose land is this and that,” he said.

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