Solomon Islands

Over 100 arrested for riot and looting in Honiara

“I must make it very clear here that no one is above the law,” Commissioner Mostyn Mangau said.

Mr Mangau added “We are expected to live and make decisions within the principles of the rule of law regardless of our positions in our society. I therefore forewarned that if anybody is found in breach of such illegal activities, Police will not hesitate to arrest and deal with him/her.”

Bodies discovered in burnt out building in Honiara

A protest on Wednesday calling for the Solomons Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to step down lapsed into major unrest and three days of rioting.

A police forensic team are on the ground and investigations are underway.

A spokesperson said they are yet to confirm the identities of the bodies.

Local reports say the remains are of some of the looters trapped inside the building.

Most of the rioting and looting took place in Chinatown, and RNZ Pacific correspondent there said only six buildings are left standing.

 

Photo RNZ Pacific 

Food, fuel and cash in short supply after days of riots shut down Honiara

Businesses, schools and even the Prime Minister's residence were set alight and looted by protesters during three straight days of civil unrest.

Now people are struggling to restock food supplies, and there are queues at ATMs and petrol stations as the extent of the crisis begins to take its toll.

Unrest broke out on Wednesday when a peaceful protest calling on Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to step down turned violent and quickly spiralled out of control of the local police.

Solomon Islands riots: Torched buildings in Honiara's Chinatown still burn

RNZ Pacific correspondent Georgina Kekea said the government curfew ended this morning at 7am local time, and people are now milling around.

Some people are continuing to loot the shops.

Kekea said the rioters have stolen a lot of alcohol.

RNZ Pacific correspondent Elizabeth Osifelo said the destruction is focused on the city's east.

"Chinatown has now been badly affected and also the industrial area in Honiara, that has also been affected. A lot of local businesses have also gone up in flames," she said.

Australia sends troops and police to Solomon Islands as unrest grows

The Australian government said the deployment would support “riot control” and security at critical infrastructure, a day after demonstrators attempted to storm parliament and topple the prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare.

 

Canberra said the move was in response to a request from Sogavare under an existing security agreement between the two countries, and should not be seen as taking a position in Solomon Islands’ internal affairs.

 

Solomons police overrun, Australia deploying support personnel

RNZ Pacific correspondent in Honiara, Elizabeth Osifelo, said exhausted police were overwhelmed as more people swarmed into town in defiance of a 36-hour lockdown.

Shops in Chinatown which had survived the earlier unrest were ransacked and burned. On the eastern side of town the Ranadi branch of Bank South Pacific was torched as was locally owned and operated hardware store, Island Enterprise.

Osifelo said police were doing everything they could to try and get control of the situation but they were outnumbered.

Solomon Islands PM calls for calm after looting and protests

Prime minister Manasseh Sogavare said those behind yesterday's scenes of destruction in Honiara would be held accountable.

He gave a national address following the protests, which led to crowds breaching parliament's precinct and burnt a building next to the main chamber.

It was followed by looting and burning of properties in town, including a school and a police station.

Sogavare announced a full lockdown until Friday, and assured the public of their safety.

Buildings burned in looting after Solomon Islands protest

Videos on social media show police firing tear gas to disperse looters, and buildings on fire.

RNZ Pacific's correspondent in the capital Honiara, Georgina Kekea, was in the Kukum area where the police station and shops were set alight, and said at least one building had been burned down.

Police she spoke to said the large crowds had been at the other end of town, and officers had not expected the crowd to attack their police station.

Protesters take to the streets in Solomon Islands

RNZ Honiara correspondent Georgina Kekea said the protest was being led primarily by people from Malaita Province who said they were not being heard by the national government.

Most schools and businesses in the capital were closed today while large crowds clashed with police as they tried to access the grounds of parliament, where parliament's house is currently sitting.

"I think a lot of Honiara residents were caught by surprise with what has happened today. It has really disrupted operations... and now people are not feeling safe anymore," Kekea said.

Slow vax rates could see Solomons' borders closed until 2023

This was the warning from Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare this week as he reiterated the government's target of 90 percent vaccination coverage before reopening.

"By Friday of last week, only 44,613 people have completed their full vaccination, representing only 12 percent of the targeted 90 perecent coverage," Manasseh Sogavare said.

Mr Sogavare said this is despite 108,417 people having already had their first jabs.