30 Sep 2002

Solomon Islands police face difficulties enforcing law on Guadalcanal Plains

10:46 am on 30 September 2002

Solomon Islands police say they are still unable to strenthen their presence on the Guadalcanal Plains more than 20 kilometres from the capital, Honiara.

Our correspondent George Atkin, says police are concerned about the growing lawlessness in the area but can do little about it at this time.

"Guadalcanal Plains has been the scene of recent fatal gun battles between rival groups in which victims included women and children. Reliable sources from the Honiara-based Guadalcanal Provincial police says because of limited manpower, they are depending on efforts by the community, national leaders and the Melanesian Brotherhood to disarm and appease the armed groups. The Guadalcanal Plains is an important area to both the national economy and landowners because it is the home of the devestated Solomon islands Plantations Ltd, which Honiara anxiously wants to re-open. The palm oil company was forced to shut down by the recent ethnis tensions."