Solomon Islands, Fiji to send 50 soldiers with Australia forces – last hour

(ANSA – AFP) – Honiara, Nov. 29 – Fiji is deploying 50 soldiers of an Australian-led peacekeeping force to the Solomon Islands, days after riots devastated part of the capital Honiara. This was announced today by Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.

“To ensure the safety and well-being of our Pacific brothers and sisters in the Solomon Islands, 50 soldiers from Fiji will be dispatched to Honiara tomorrow as part of an integrated reinforced unit of Australian forces to help maintain peace and security,” he said. Bainimarama tweeted.

This reinforcement will bring the peacekeeping force to nearly 200 soldiers and police, mostly Australians, with the participation of 34 men from Papua New Guinea. The Solomon Islands crisis erupted last week with three days of rioting in Honiara amid a population grappling with poverty, hunger and anger over government policies in the country of 800,000 people. The government is accused of corruption and is accountable to Beijing and other foreign interests. During the riots, in which at least three people were killed, protesters attempted to burn down the private residence of the Prime Minister and Parliament, before police dispersed them with tear gas and warning shots. Today, residents of the capital continue to clean up the city, as Chinatown has turned into a field of rubble. (ANSA – Agence France-Presse).

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