23 Dec 2004

Solomon Peace Council says Australian troops welcome

2:59 pm on 23 December 2004

The National Peace Council in Solomon Islands says most people in the Solomons will welcome the 120 extra Australian troops who are expected to arrive in the Solomons today.

The deployment follows the fatal shooting in Honiara early yesterday of a 26-year-old Australian policeman, Adam Dunning, who was on a routine patrol in Green Valley outside Honiara.

The council, which has been heavily involved with the Regional Assistance Mission, or Ramsi, in the collection and destruction of weapons, says there are still guns in the community.

He says finding the guns should be the first priority of the new troops.

"We thought the guns were already taken away, but one or two few people are still holding onto guns, which is very difficult to find out who they are. So we need these kinds of people who are well trained to look for these kind of people."

Mr Supa says there's an even chance that another shot could be taken at a Ramsi officer.

Meanwhile, the head of the multi-national police force operating under Ramsi, Sandi Peisley, says she's confident most people support the police.

And Sandi Peisley says the Solomon Islands 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.

The Solomons' Deputy Police Commissioner Sandi Peisley.