Following days of violent protests, 3 burned bodies were found in Solomon Islands' Chinatown

By Rek Hanibal Published on November 27, 2021
Following days of violent protests, 3 burned bodies were found in Solomon Islands' Chinatown

Three charred bodies have been found in a burned outbuilding in the Chinatown district of the Solomon Islands' capital, Honiara; the first reported fatalities after three days of violent protests that saw more than 100 people arrested.

Police are investigating the cause of their death and their identities and do not have further information to disclose at this point, Solomon Islands police media officer Desmond Rave told on Saturday. Honiara is quite tense at the moment, but the city is getting back to normal," Rave said.

Security forces have been unable to halt unrest in Honiara that began on Wednesday with protesters demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and the looting and burning of shops and businesses.

According to Reuters, many of the protesters come from the most populous province of Malaita, where there is resentment toward the government and opposition to its 2019 decision to end diplomatic ties with Taiwan and establish formal links with China.

Demonstrators are also calling for the government to limit ties with China, respect the rights of self-determination of the Malaita people, and resume development projects in Malaita province.

More than 100 people have been arrested as of Saturday, according to police, who appealed to rioters to stop looting and burning buildings and warned of further arrests if the unrest does not stop.

To bolster local police, troops from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) arrived in Honiara on Friday, Australia's High Commissioner to the Islands confirmed on Saturday. Sharing a photograph of a RAAF C-17 troop transporter landing in the capital, Dr Lachlan Strahan, Australian High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, tweeted, "The ADF arrives in Honiara!"

Australia's Ministry of Defense said it had also deployed the Royal Australian Navy patrol boat HMAS Armidale to the Islands to support local forces in maritime security.

Papua New Guinea also deployed a security team to the Solomon Islands on Friday following a request from the Pacific island nation, PNG Prime Minister James Marape said in a statement.

The security team, comprised of 20 police and 15 correctional service members, is deployed to assist Solomon Islands' police to "stop looting and vandalism" in Honiara and is subject to increase if the need arises; the statement read.

 On Friday, the Solomon Islands government declared a nightly curfew and advised all public servants to stay home. The curfew will last from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily, effective from Friday. During the period, only authorized officers are allowed to move within the city," a government statement said.

The central government advised all public servants to stay at home due to the unrest, except essential workers. It encouraged staff to ensure they had food supplies "due to the uncertainty of the current situation."On Thursday, a local journalist said fires were blazing in Chinatown, and the police had lost control in eastern Honiara.

Rek Hanibal

Rek Hanibal

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