New Zealand, Australia fly in extra personnel to help quell Solomon Island riots

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The New Zealand and Australian governments plan to send reinforcements to the Solomon Islands following a written request for help from the Solomon Islands' government.

Violence began yesterday in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, when protestors took to the streets opposing the election by parliament of Snyder Rini as the new Prime Minister. The streets of the capital witnessed arson and widespread looting.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard said "We have a long term commitment to the security of the Solomon Islands and we are absolutely determined that the Solomon Islands will be a stable democratic country and that can only happen if we go the distance."

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said the “situation in Honiara continues to be a cause for concern…Police are still attempting to regain full control and it is clear that the Solomon Islands government needs assistance from its neighbours to restore law and order."

A contingent of 110 Australian soldiers and 80 Australian federal police officers left for the islands today. Thirty New Zealand Police and twenty five New Zealand Army personnel will leave on a Royal New Zealand Air Force plane on Thursday morning.

They will provide extra support to the RAMSI security force currently based there. The current violence is the worst the capital has seen since Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific governments intervened in 2003 to end years of civil unrest.



This audio file was created from the text revision dated 2006-04-20 and may not reflect subsequent text edits to this report. (audio help)