13 Nov 2006

RAMSI police officers fires shots to disperse rock throwing crowd in Honiara

5:44 am on 13 November 2006

A police officer working with the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands was forced to fire warning shots to ward off an angry crowd throwing rocks in Honiara last night.

Two Solomons officers and two participating police came under attack when they tried to arrest a suspect over a reported assault in the city's Koa Hill area.

The officers were forced to retreat to the Mataniko River to escape the bombardment during which three officers were hit.

Two later required medical attention for minor injuries.

The officers called on the group to stop their attack, but when it continued, one officer drew his pistol and fired two shots into the river away from the group.

Solomons Police Commissioner, Shane Castles, said he was disappointed the crowd had turned on the police as they were responding to a call for assistance from the community.

He said if people continued to put the police into life-threatening situations, it would only be a matter of time before someone was seriously injured or even killed.