By Jeffrey Elapa in Port Moresby
Papua New Guinea’s deployment of 37 police and Correctional Services staff to Solomon Islands on Friday was done on the back of a regional police-to-police engagement arrangement to help stem the civil unrest in Honiara.
Police Commissioner David Manning, who returned to Port Moresby from Honiaria on Friday evening on a chartered Tropicair plane, said he met his Solomon Islands counterpart Mostyn Mangau.
The first thing the PNG contingent did was to protect some of the state assets such as Henderson International Airport and Parliament House.
Manning said a further commitment was known to Commissioner Mangau and Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to increase manpower if the situation worsened.
He said that the members of the PNG contingent would work side by side and under Commissioner Mangau’s orders.
He said on the meeting with Mangau that the situation was of great concern for them given the manpower shortage in Solomon Islands.
PNG’s intervention was not just timely but was critical to them to contain the situation.
Manning said according to the brief, most of the shops in Chinatown were looted and burnt down, including the PNG-owned BSP building in Honiara.
He said an aerial view of the capital indicated that the city streets were empty with no movement of people.
He said PNG’s intervention was part of PNG’s interest in helping provide regional security.
Fiji providing 50 troops
The Fiji Times reports that Fiji will today deploy a 50 troops to Solomon Islands.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama confirmed this in Parliament yesterday in response to the upheaval in Honiara.
He said the team would be dispatched to Honiara as part of a reinforced platoon embedded with Australian Force elements on the ground.
“Another 120 troops here in Fiji will remain on standby for deployment if needed to help maintain security,” Bainimarama said.
Republished with permission on PNG Post-Courier and The Fiji Times.