Solomon Islands update: Government intact, no confidence motion filed, more Australian police on way

Civil unrest in the Solomon Islands (Nov, 2021).

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says his government is fully intact.

Sogavare said he is sincerely grateful to his colleague MPs for their ongoing support and solidarity to stand for the principles of democracy despite the threats and intimidations.

“The intention is very clear and that is to put pressure on me to resign.

“It is very clear that the recent events were well planned and orchestrated to remove me as the Prime Minister for unsubstantiated reasons that have been distorted to misrepresent the facts.

“We must and will never bow down to the evil intentions of a few people.

“We must stand up to intimidation, bullying and violence,” he said.

He has paid tribute to the business houses, church groups and other people who cleaned Honiara city over the weekend.

Wale files motion of no-confidence

Solomon Islands leader of Opposition, Matthew Wale has announced that he is  filing a notice of a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

However he still doesn’t have the numbers, with only three resignations from Sogavare’s government so far. The confirmed resignations are Member for West New Georgia/Vona Vona  Silas Tausinga, Member for North Malaita Levi Senley Filualea, & Member for Malaita Outer IslandsMartin Kealoe. At least eleven more Members would need to resign for the motion to succeed.

More Australian police join Solomon Islands peacekeeping mission

Another contingent of 15 New South Wales police officers are being deployed to the Solomon Islands to support Australian peacekeepers after a request from the Australian Federal Government.

“The operation … will provide assistance to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force to support order and stability and provide humanitarian assistance to people in need,” NSW Police Minister David Elliott said.

Elliott said the officers will be deployed with all their standard police equipment, including firearms.

It is expected they will be sworn into the Australian Federal Police in the coming days before they leave for Honiara.

The deployment of NSW Police comes after Solomon Islands authorities investigate three charred bodies found in a burned-out building in the Chinatown district of the city.

More than 100 people have been arrested 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) and from Papua New Guinea are in Honiara.

Pacific Islands Forum expresses deep regret

“It is with deep regret that we have watched the evolving situation in Honiara”  says Forum Secretary General Henry Puna.

“I am especially concerned by the deaths reported so far,  and note the importance of the rule of law and safety of all communities through this difficult time. The Forum remains in close contact with the Government of the Solomon Islands and stands ready to provide any support that may be required.

“Indeed, peace and security in our respective member countries is inextricably linked to peace and stability at the regional level. The Boe and Biketawa Declarations of our Forum Leaders attest to the priority of peace for our one Blue Pacific.

“I am encouraged by the support that has been shown by both Australia and Papua New Guinea and I remain confident in the Government of the day to resolve the situation at hand and in the interest of its people.

“I recognise that the national situation remains fluid at this stage and I urge all parties to continue to demonstrate patience and adherence to the rule of law as enshrined in the Constitution of the Solomon Islands.”

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