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Tensions rising over squatter settlements

Monday 4 April 2016 | Published in Regional

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SOLOMON ISLANDS – Tensions are rising in Solomon Islands over the encroachment onto Guadalcanal provincial lands by residents from the capital Honiara.

Illegal squatting was one of the major causes of an ethnic crisis which tore the country apart in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

The squatter problem is once again reaching critical levels, according to the new premier of the Guadalcanal provincial government, Anthony Veke.

Veke said his government and people want squatters off provincial and alienated land around the city limits but calls for national government intervention were falling on deaf ears.

“We can’t rule out conflict between the land-owning tribes, the people who claim they own the land and the people who are squatting on those lands,” he said.

“We have to foresee the risks that are ahead of us and if we want Solomon Islands and Guadalcanal to be peaceful we have to address those risks that are ahead of those situations.”

Veke said he felt this was a matter of national security and that the national government, the city council and the wider Solomon Islands community should prioritise finding a solution to the problem.

- RNZI