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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Australian DFAT reactivates its warning against travel to Solomon Islands

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has reviewed and reissued its travel advice to the Solomon Islands effective on Monday this week.

The travel warning from Canberra suggests that Australians could become victims of violence in the Solomon Islands.

In its latest travel advisory, the Department of Foreign Affairs advises Australians to reconsider their need to travel to the Solomons at this time because of the uncertain security situation and ongoing political tensions.

The advisory adds that if Australians do decide to travel to the Solomon Islands, they should exercise extreme caution. Australians in the Solomon Islands, particularly in Honiara, should maintain a high level of personal security awareness and closely monitor the media and other local information sources for information about possible new safety or security risks.

In addition, staff of the Australian High Commission and the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) have also been advised to take additional practical security measures, including exercising a high degree of personal security in their residences and to avoid walking, running or cycling after dark or in the early hours of the morning in Honiara.

Canberra's travel advice also reiterated the presence of certain criminal elements within the community, some of whom have access to firearms. Information that reached Canberra suggests that some of these criminals may be encouraging criminal activity and acts of violence targeting RAMSI and the expatriate civilian community for political purposes. There have also been threats of violence in recent months directed at the Australian High Commission coupled with a significant rise in criminal activity in recent months in and around East Honiara, particularly the BurnsCreek area and the nearby Ranadi industrial centre.

Source: DFAT

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