19 Jan 2007

Taiwan firearms training for Solomons PM's bodyguards quashed

4:04 pm on 19 January 2007

A controversial plan by the Solomon Islands prime minister to allow firearms training in Taipei for his personal police bodyguards, has been quashed by the Taiwanese government.

Manasseh Sogavare's government wants to rearm its police force, a move opposed by the Australian-led region assistance mission in the country.

The plan has also been condemned by civil groups fearful of a return to violence and ethnic unrest in the Solomons.

Mr Sogavare has brushed aside an Australian-led training package for his police bodyguards in favour of a Taiwanese course.

Solomons police and other government officials believed the course included weapons training for 12 officers who left for Taipei on Monday.