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Home World Australia peacekeepers deploy in riot-hit Solomon Islands

Australia peacekeepers deploy in riot-hit Solomon Islands

HONIARA: Australian peacekeepers deployed on Friday (Nov 26) to safe the airport and port of the riot-torn Solomon Islands capital Honiara as younger males rummaged for items in smouldering buildings throughout the Chinatown district.

In the morning hours, smoke wafted by way of the streets from fire-gutted buildings, a scene of devastation after anti-government protesters swarmed the capital for 2 days, some torching and looting.

The vanguard of Australia’s snap peacekeeping deployment arrived in a single day in the Pacific island nation, lower than a day after Solomons Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare appealed for assist quelling the violent unrest that threatened to topple his authorities.

After making the request, Sogavare stated the Solomons had been “brought to its knees” by the rioting.

The unrest has been sparked by pandemic-fuelled financial frustrations and a long-running rivalry between residents of the nation’s most populous island Malaita and the central authorities based mostly on the island of Guadalcanal.

Canberra’s Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews stated the Australian mission, comprised of about 100 police and navy personnel, was meant to revive regulation and order.

“Twenty-three Australian Federal Police were deployed immediately yesterday, they are already on the ground in Honiara, more will be deployed today, about another 50,” she informed Sky News.

“The situation is very volatile there. At the moment we know that the rioting has escalated over the last couple of days,” she stated, including that the troops would safe important infrastructure together with the airport and ports.

‘MOBS MOVING AROUND’

The archipelago nation of round 700,000 individuals has for many years been beset by ethnic and political tensions.

The newest bout of unrest started on Wednesday when 1000’s of protesters besieged parliament, setting hearth to an outbuilding and looking for to oust Sogavare, who has refused to resign.

Since then, the demonstrations have descended right into a violent free-for-all, with gangs of stick-wielding youths rampaging by way of the capital, stripping shops of products and clashing with police.

“There’s mobs moving around, it’s very tense,” one resident informed AFP, asking to not be named.

By late Thursday 1000’s of looters overtly defied police lockdown orders, operating by way of the streets carrying bins, crates and bulging sacks of products as flames crackled round them and plumes of thick black smoke billowed excessive above the town.

Images revealed on social media confirmed buildings engulfed in flames, shopfronts smouldering and corrugated roofs twisted and collapsed in the capital.

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Sunday, November 28, 2021

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