New Zealand’s prime minister has announced the deployment of 65 soldiers and police in an Australian-led peacekeeping force to the Solomon Islands, after bloody riots engulfed part of the capital, Honiara.
The dispatch of the force follows a request from the archipelago’s government, which is on the verge of collapse during the unrest that has killed at least three people and caused smoking in entire areas of the capital.
Ardern said a first force of 15 New Zealanders would leave on Thursday and another 50 would join them over the weekend.
These forces will work alongside Solomon Islands police and about 200 peacekeepers sent to Honiara from Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
“We are deeply concerned about the recent civil unrest and riots in Honiara and have acted quickly to provide urgent assistance to help restore lasting peace and security,” Ms Ardern said.
The crisis in the Solomon Islands erupted last week with three days of riots in Honiara among the poor and hungry population expressing their anger at the policies of the government of this country of 800,000 people.
The government is accused of corruption and of being accountable to Beijing and other foreign interests.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavari will face a no-confidence vote on Monday initiated by the opposition, a move that could spark further turmoil.
After attempting to storm Parliament, rioters set fire to much of the capital’s Chinatown, as well as Mr. Sugavari’s personal residence. Calm returned after sending foreign forces at the invitation of the Prime Minister.
The Chinese community has been specifically targeted because the Solomon Islands government cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of Beijing in 2019
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