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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Death threats issued against certain Solomon MPs ahead of no-confidence motion on Friday

Police in Solomon Islands have strengthened security for some members of parliament following threats on their lives.

Police officials in Honiara say some government and opposition MPs have received threats after a notice for a motion of no confidence against the prime minister, Manassah Sogavare, was filed on Friday last week. However, police officials are refusing to reveal the identity of the MPs.

Meanwhile, reports from Honiara has stated that Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare's office, is running a so-called spy unit, to run smear campaigns against Australians and the Regional Assistance Mission.

From Honiara, the ABC radio has quoted Dorothy Wickham as stating the government has allocated around $US106,000 towards the budget of the intelligence unit, established by the prime minister's office.

It is understood that the unit has been working for a few months now. The unit was set up to satisfy the government's uneasiness about relying on police and RAMSI intelligence. Prime Minister Sogavare has previously described RAMSI as being an Australian attempt to force his government out of office.

Speculation is now rife that the "spy unit" was behind the arrest of Australian Vietnam veteran Bill Johnson on murder charges. The 61-year-old was charged with conspiring to assassinate Mr Sogavare last month, but has since been released on bail. Prime Minister Sogavare said at the time, he is worried if the case is poorly handled, it will fall into the hands of Australian officers, who could be perceived of having a conflict of interest

The Sogavare government has made no response to claims that their office is running a spy unit.

Source: Radio Australia

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