‘Don’t interfere’, Solomon Islands police tell opposition leader

Australian Federal Police officers on peacekeeping duties in Honiara
Australian Federal Police officers on peacekeeping duties in Honiara. Image: RSIPF Facebook

By Robert Iroga in Honiara

The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) has appealed to opposition leader Matthew Wale to “stop interfering” with police investigations in the wake of the rioting in Honiara last month.

“It is unfortunate that the leader of opposition, Mr Mathew Wale, attempted to question an ongoing investigation by police in the media,” said Police Commissioner Mostyn Mangau.

“Issues raised by Honourable Wale are legal issues that are best dealt with by the court.”

Commissioner Mangau said in a statement that the police reassured Solomon Islanders that the police were an independent body and did not pursue political agendas.

“RSIPF will not engage in legal arguments in the media,” he said.

“Police will not further comment on matters that are subject to ongoing investigations. A leader should not interfere with police investigations.”

Mangau said an accused would be provided with legal counsel and it was the duty of the lawyer to advocate for the rights of the accused in court.

He added that Solomon Islands was currently under a state public emergency and the rules were set out under the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) (No.3) regulation 2021.

Praise for AFP officers
Meanwhile, the RSIPF Facebook page praised the help from the Australian Federal Police as part of their peacekeeping role.

“Officers from the @AustFedPolice are supporting the RSIPF on the streets of Honiara,” sid the Facebook page along with a gallery of photos of Australian police on duty in Honiara.

“Highly-skilled personnel have deployed from Australia, including the Specialist Operations Tactical Response team. Their mission is to support the RSIPF to protect the community and key infrastructure, and to peacefully restore order in Honiara.”

The AFP officers had helped the RSIPF “peacefully restore calm in the community”.

Fijian, New Zealand and Papua New Guinean military and police peacekeepers are also helping out in Honiara.

Robert Iroga is editor of SBM Online. Republished with permission.

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