Honiara: About 40 Australian Defence Force personnel and a navy ship will join Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers in the Solomon Islands later on Friday in a peace-keeping role as local authorities struggle to control unrest in the capital Honiara, media reported.
The island nation’s Governor-General on Friday imposed a curfew from 7 pm to 6 am daily in the capital city as violent protest and sporadic looting enter their third day.
Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands Manasseh Sogavare has sent a formal request for help to Canberra based on a bilateral security treaty signed in 2017, Solomon Times reported.
Australia has agreed to send troops and federal police to the Solomon Islands amid unrest on Thursday. Prime Minister Morrison said 23 AFP members would be deployed immediately, another 50 AFP officers would support critical infrastructure on the following day, as well as 43 armed defence force personnel.
Sogavare, in a statement on Thursday, blamed the protests on foreign interference, as the unrest is believed to stem from the government’s moves to recognize China and sever ties with Taiwan, according to media reports.
About 1,000 people gathered outside the parliament on Wednesday in the capital Honiara demanding the minister`s resignation and setting a ceremonial leaf hut on fire. Sogavare declared a 36-hour lockdown on Wednesday after the protests had turned violent. Solomon police forces used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters.