A geologist has been killed by an unknown assailant in the Bougainville Autonomous Region of Papua New Guinea. Channon Lumpoo, 27, a Thai National, was killed by a single shot from a high-powered riffle while installing equipment in the Kokoda area. He was working for Austhai Geophysical Consultants of Bangkok, who are carrying out surveying work in the area on behalf of the Philippine company SRMI.
The location of Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea. Google Maps.
This is the second killing of a geologist in the area within a few months, following the death of Papuan National Terry Win Kilya in December 2019, who was apparently thrown from a cliff while carrying out surveying work for Kalia/Toremana Joint Venture Limited.
Bougainville Island voted for independence from Papua New Guinea in a referendum in December 2019. The island's relationship with the rest of the nation has long been problematic, with a civil war being waged by separatists in the 1990s. One of the major disagreements that have fuelled tensions has been the awarding of mining rights to foreign companies on the island by the Papuan government, which are perceived as brining little benefit to local people, while stripping the island of its natural wealth and damaging the environment.
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