23 Dec 2004

Australia poised to redeploy 100 soldiers in Solomon Islands

10:15 am on 23 December 2004

Australia is boosting the number of its soldiers in Solomon Islands after the first killing of a member of the regional assistance mission.

The Prime Minister of Solomon Islands has approved the redeployment of a hundred Australian troops after a police officer from Canberra was shot dead in Honiara.

A rapid response infantry company from the 2nd Royal Australian Regiment is expected to arrive later today.

The Australian federal police officer, Adam Dunning, died attack yesterday morning in the capital, Honiara.

It was the second shooting on an assistance mission vehicle in as many months.

The Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty and Justice Minister Chris Ellison, arrived in the Solomons last night.

Mr Ellison, says the vast majority of Solomons' people welcome RAMSI's presence, and they will not be put off by the murder.

"It's in the interests of Solomon Islands and Australia to see stability restored to the Solomons, but of course this incident serves as a shocking reminder as to the ever-present danger."

The Solomons' Deputy Commissioner Sandy Piesley says the community must come together to solve the murder.

Police cannot work to the exclusion of the community, we rely very heavily on the community to assist us in our role. And we are again going to be calling on the community and relying on the community to assist us in the investigation of this murder.