13 Dec 2002

Disgruntled Solomons police fire shots at prime minister's residence

4:30 pm on 13 December 2002

Disgruntled police in Solomon Islands have fired shots at the prime minister's residence in their bid to get more money from the government.

Nobody has been hurt in the incident but it has prompted parliament to be adjourned until next week.

From Honiara, Johnson Honimae reports.

"A tight security cordon has been thrown around the residence of prime minister Sir Allan Kemakeza. The residence is in the centre of town. Thsi is after a group that the prime minister describes as special constables fired shots at the residence this morning. When I spoke to him by phone after the incident he told me about seven shots at his residence but they all went over the building. He says he was just about to leave his residence for Parliament House, which less than two minutes' drive away, when the incident happened. He is saying the group of special constables, and some of them are from the Marau area coming out of the former Marau Eagle Force, are demanding 1.4 million Solomon Islands dollars for work they say they have performed in the past several months. Now prime minister Kemakeza has said his government paid these fellows 600,000 Solomon Islands dollars yesterday but they are demanding that the rest must be paid by today. We sent a reporter up there but he was not able to get to the prime minister because the road up to his residence has now been blocked - the police we spoke to say they have now apprehended one person who was with the group who went up there. The rest have taken off. The group of men went up there in two Hilux vehicles and another car and started shooting at the prime minister's residence. The parliament meeting that was supposed to go ahead this morning has now also been adjourned until Monday morning."