The New Zealand government has announced it will deploy Defence Force and Police personnel to Honiara to help restore peace and stability.
This comes after Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare made a request to the New Zealand government for support and to send troops after several days of violence last week, which saw rioters cause massive destruction to parts of the capital in Honiara.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says, “New Zealand is committed to its responsibilities and playing its part in upholding regional security.”
“We are deeply concerned by the recent civil unrest and rioting in Honiara, and following yesterday’s request of the Solomon Islands Government, we have moved quickly to provide urgent assistance to help restore sustained peace and security.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta says, “New Zealand will send a deployment of New Zealand Defence Force and New Zealand Police to Solomon Islands in the coming days. She says it is a short-term, immediate response and they will continue to monitor the situation.
Defence Minister Peeni Henare said an initial NZDF assessment team of approximately 15 personnel would deploy tomorrow, followed by a larger group of up to 50 NZDF and Police personnel at the weekend.
Police Minister Poto Williams said Police would work with the NZDF to add to the contribution already made by Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Fiji to aid in restoring law and order.
All New Zealand personnel deploying to Solomon Islands are required to be double vaccinated, have had a negative COVID-19 test before departure, and adhere to Solomon Islands COVID-19 testing protocols. They will complete managed isolation on their return.
The New Zealand High Commission in Honiara is providing SafeTravel advice to New Zealanders in Solomon Islands, including that they should follow the instructions and advice of local authorities and exercise care.
Image credit: Georgina Kekea – Honiara