Kiwi troops deployed to Solomon Islands amid humanitarian crisis

By Will Trafford

Aotearoa will send dozens of police officers and soldiers to the Solomon Islands to assist the country’s government to quell days of deadly rioting and unrest.

Protests calling for the country’s prime minister Manasseh Sogavare to step aside erupted last week, attributed mostly to soaring hunger and poverty, as well as allegations Sogavare is corrupt and has covert ties to the Chinese government.

Last Wednesday Sogavare instated a lockdown after thousands gathered in the capital Honiara, setting fire to its Chinatown region. Four people were later killed when crowds attempting to torch the PM residence were dispersed by police.

Defence Minister Peeni Henare says an initial team of about 15 will head to Honiara tomorrow, followed by a larger group of up to 50 NZDF and police at the weekend.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta says the deployment is a short-term commitment.

"New Zealand has a deep and long-standing partnership with the Solomon Islands, and we assured them of our willingness to support our Pacific whānau through this difficult time." She said.

Australia has deployed roughly 100 soldiers and police officers to Honiara and Samoa says it's readying teams should they be required.

Above: Australia deploys military personnel to the Solomon Islands amid days of violence. Source: Reuters