Police in Solomon Islands remain on high alert following riots
The police in Solomon Islands say they remain on high alert following the weekend's riots in Honiara but peace appears has been restored.
The police in Solomon Islands say they remain on high alert following following the weekend's riots in Honiara but peace appears to have been restored.
Rioting and looting occurred on both Friday and Saturday nights and police needed tear gas to subdue the offenders.
The Acting Police Commissioner, Juanita Matanga, says police patrols continue to maintain a strong presence in the area.
She told Amelia Langford that people from settlements in Eastern Honiara near Burn's Creek were involved in the violence rather than people from evacuation centres.
JUANITA MATANGA: I am really happy with the evacuation centres because they were not in support of these people when they came out so that tells us that it wasn't really the evacuation centre it was some people trying to take advantage of the situation and they wanted to take the law into their own hands.
AMELIA LANGFORD: What were they angry or fighting about?
JM: They were disappointed that they were not treated fairly in terms of the relief supplies. They also said they were unfairly treated and they wanted to know how the money has been spent. That again is a matter for the NDMO [National Disaster Management Office] to explain because we are not involved in that process. It is for the NDMO to clarify that. However, what we are doing is dealing with the criminal behaviour of those people.
AL: So, what are you telling the public to do now?
JM: In terms of what is happening at the moment, I think I want to say that people must understand that there are procedures in place for all of us to follow and for individuals to try and take the situation and do something that is not in line with our way of thinking then it may not assist our situation at the moment. Secondly, this country belongs to all Solomon Islanders and it is up to all Solomon Islanders to make sure they live peacefully. We have come through a lot of challenges and it is up to us to make that difference in our way of doing our work because if we continue to create lawlessness then we are the ones who will face the consequences or receive the consequences of bad behaviour. But on the same note, I would also like to acknowledge that I have received a lot of support from the communities, their leaders appealing to their young people to stay away from this sort of of behaviour and I'm really pleased with their contribution towards a peaceful society.
AL: And are you confident that any danger related to these riots is now over? Has peace been restored?
JM :We are still monitoring it. We are actually on the ground in full force and whatever comes up we will deal with it and we will definitely have the capability to address that. But again I am only asking the communities because
if we care for this nation it is everybody's business that we play our part to ensure that the society lives in peace.
Juanita Matanga has dismissed suggestions the riots specifically targeted Chinese-owned businesses. She says 33 people are in police custody and will face a range of charges including arson and unlawful assembly.
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