Calm returns to Solomon Islands

Rebels are rapidly losing power in the Solomon Islands following the arrival of a regional intervention force, a senior police officer claimed in the capital Honiara on Friday.

    Peace for now in Solomon Islands

    Larger than normal crowds thronged Honiara's main streets, while rundown buildings were being cleaned and long-closed shops reopened as Operation Helpem Fren (pidgin for "help a friend") started smoothly.

     

    A calm descended on the trouble-torn islands since the arrival of the intervention force.

     

    Hundreds of policemen and at least a 1000 military personnel from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and other Pacific islands landed in the Islands on Thursday in the biggest such operation in the Pacific since the World War II.

     

    Weapons surrender

      

    Rebels have already started surrendering weapons since the arrival, the police officer Ben McDavitt said. "That signifies a change of the balance of power towards

    law-abiding citizens of the Islands, and that is the way it should be,” added McDavitt, who is also deputy Royal Solomon Islands Police (RSIP) commissioner.

     

    Among weapons surrendered in the last week were five military style self-loading rifles and a 40 mm grenade launcher.

      

    "This is a police-led operation at at this stage."

    -- Intervention force chief Nick Warner

    McDavitt said the force had not yet acted against leading rebel Harold Keke, who has been blamed for a string of murders and kidnappings in the Islands. "Harold Keke is a person who we would obviously desire to speak with sooner rather than later," he said.

      

    The head of the intervention mission, Australian diplomat Nick Warner said it was a unique operation of combining law enforcement, peace-making and nation-building.

      

    "Let me emphasise again, again and again, this is a police-led operation at this stage. The police are the primary vehicle for what we are trying to achieve in the short term," Warner said.

     

    The Solomon Islands has suffered a four-year civil war that, despite peace efforts, has showed few signs of ending.

     

    The war has pitted the people of Guadalcanal and Malaita against each other and has spawned bands of rebel groups.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    More than 300 people died in Somalia but some are asking why there was less news coverage and sympathy on social media.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Japan's third-largest steelmaker has admitted it faked data on parts used in cars, planes and trains.