Site security discussed

Police Acting Deputy Commissioner operations Donald Yamasombi (left) and PNG Forest Authority acting managing director John Mosoro.

EFFORTS are underway to address issues affecting security and policing at logging sites in the country.
Papua New Guinea Forest Authority acting managing director John Mosoro has met with the Royal PNG Constabulary to bring to its attention to certain forestry issues and to draft a partnership agreement.
Mosoro and his staff met with Police acting Deputy Commissioner Operations Donald Yamasombi, directorate heads and senior staff from the field operations directorate in Port Moresby last month.
He said the authority’s four concerns included law and order at forestry project sites, harassment of forestry officers, training of forestry officers to undertake policing roles and the authorities assistance of the police legacy system.
He said some forestry project areas in Gulf and Western had problems where logging operations were sabotaged and workers were harassed and even kidnapped by landowners or outsiders for ransom.
Mosoro said last year, some expatriates and nationals at Makapa TRP (Timber Rights Purchase) forestry project in Western, were kidnapped and later released after a K300,000 ransom was paid.
He said the authority was compelled to address the problem as these forestry projects were government sanctioned.
ACP Yamasombi said he was pleased the authority was taking the lead to address lawlessness in logging sites.
“Investors came to my office and begged for police to attend to this,” he said.
“That’s how the police got involved – they are Government sanctioned projects so we have to give that support.
“The authority, as the Government body that regulates the forestry sector, should take on board and address the issues, not the investors, which looks bad on us.
“I, therefore, appreciate the authority for forming this working relationship.”
Mosoro said his office was also concerned about the harassment of authority staff by police personnel on behalf of landowners regarding royalty claims.
“I want such harassment of our officers who are protected under the Forestry Act to stop,” he said.
“We will do a formal letter on this to the police commissioner.”
Mosoro also told of his plans to have forestry officers trained as police reservists through a memorandum of agreement with the police force.
He said this would allow his officers to act as officers of the law in certain locations (camp sites, regional and provincial office) and with specific powers in order to ensure security.
Regarding the police legacy system, Mosoro said because police played a vital role in security and safety at project sites, the authority provided financial assistance to the families of police officers who lost their lives while on duty.
“We must give back to the community, and the police force is the right one I believe we should give to because they will protect us,” he said.