To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Calm returns to Honiara - but the damage has been done

Good evening online friends and wantoks. Sorry for not updating us for the past day or two. I was very busy preparing for my graduation which was held today at the University of the South Pacific's Laucala Campus. Anyway, reports from Solomon Star today stated that calm has returned to Honiara despite one of our TARD members describing it as still tense.

According to Evan Wasuka of Solomon Star, a sense of calm has returned to Honiara with the presence of Australian military troops and an overnight curfew marked by a drop in criminal activity. As of early yesterday morning there had been no reports of theft of property or looting.

"Police Commissioner Shane Castles said there had been a drastic reduction in looting and criminal incidents after the arrival of 120 Australian soldiers. Commissioner Castles said there were eight arrests on Wednesday night with the incidents of looting occurring at the Kukum shops and at Ranadi. While in Malaita 14 arrests were made with reports of looting in Auki.

So far, approximately 60 arrests have been made since the looting started on Tuesday afternoon, said Commissioner Castles.
He said military soldiers who arrived on Wednesday night have been deployed to support police efforts to restore law and order.

"We have also been supplemented by the Australian Federal Police to the tune of 50."
"I'm told an additional 30 officers arrived from New Zealand and we are waiting the arrival of 20 from Fiji."

The arrival of new members he said would give the opportunity for officers of the local police force and Participating Police Force to rest as they had been working non-stop since the looting had started.

Commissioner Castle said the aim now was to stabilise the situation and get the city back to normal business as soon as possible."

Meanwhile, in an email that was sent to us by one of TARD's member who is currently in Honiara has it that the situation is still tense even if the RAMSI Personnels are there. The report stated that China Town is no longer the China Town that we used to know but it is a town of ashes except for ABA Store, YTL, Wong Piu and John Tom Building. In Point Cruz, Accor alliance, MVC, and Sun shine Super Market were either damaged or burnt whilst in the eastern side Solomon Casino Hotel, Fotune
Restaurant, Supreme club, Health Club, two chinese shops, and Uncle Alick Shop are all burnt down except for Tongs where people arround the place quickly killed the
fire, otherwise it would have burnt down as well.

"By looking at the physical environment of Honiara, I must honestly say
that the situation is still uncertain, not knowing whether the unrest will stop or
will continue, because the stituation is tense. What I actually heard from the
people is the unrest will not stop unless the prime minister step down. Even with the curfue that was set by RAMSI, they said they don't care. If RAMSI shoots them they'll die for their people and their nation Solomon Islands," said Mr Fairamoa who is in Honiara.

However, we just pray that things are normalised as soon as possible so that it would not have much deleterous impacts on the lives of innocent people. We believe that the law should be allowed to take its course on the criminal offenders because their actions are beyond the limits.

News sources: Evan Wasuka (Solomon Star Online) & Peter Fairamoa (TARD member in Honiara).

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