New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Wednesday, December 1, 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 this force follows a request from the government of this Pacific archipelago, which is on the verge of collapse during the unrest that killed at least three people and caused smoking in entire areas of the capital.
Jacinda Ardern said a first force of 15 New Zealanders would leave on Thursday and be joined by another 50 over the weekend. These forces will work alongside the Solomon Islands Police and approximately 200 personnel peacekeepers Sent to Honiara from Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. On Monday, November 29, the Fiji Islands announced the deployment of 50 soldiers.
« Restoration of lasting peace and security »
« We are deeply concerned about the recent civil unrest and riots in Honiara, and we acted quickly to provide urgent assistance to help restore lasting peace and security. Ms. Ardern said in a statement.
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 Manasseh Sogavari’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.
To read also: Solomon Islands: How do we explain the deadly riots?
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