HONIARA, Solomon Islands |SHIFTMEDIA| Angry rioters protesting diplomatic ties with China have set ablaze the house belonging to Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
The unrest that has caused mayhem in the tiny island nation has prompted the immediate deployment of police from neighboring Australia.
Police from Australia arrived in the Solomon Islands on Friday after a request from the host nation to help quell the violence that has lasted a couple of days.
The enraged rioters also burnt the nations’ parliament as well as police station.
Solomon Islands, a nation of hundreds of small islands in the Pacific Ocean has a population of 710,000 (2021 Worldometer statistics).
The nation’s police failed to quell the riots that also left a prime commercial building set ablaze.
To contain the rioters who are against the new 36 hour COVID 19 curfew, Australia sent in 23 of its Federal Police officers including a tactical team to help restore stability.
According to The Newdaily.com Australia has deployed 23 Australian Federal Police officers as well as 43 Australian Defence Force personnel and, tactical response teams to the Pacific island nation to help with stability.
Australian news agencies said the Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews had dispatched Australian forces armed with lethal and non-lethal weapons.
“Our role is to assist the Solomon Islands police force to restore law and public order as soon as possible,” Andrews told ABC TV.
Andrews was quoted saying the intervention by Australia was not a military matter, but policing.
The foreign minister Marise Payne said the deployment of the Australian troops was likely to last for weeks.
There are at least 200 Australian citizens living in this tiny Island.
Prime Minister blames foreign powers
Solomon Islands Premier on Friday blamed the nations’ unrest on foreign influence that he declined to reveal.
“External pressure were very big influence. I don’t want to name names. We’ll leave it there,” he told the press on Friday.
The nation’s main opposition leader Mathew Wale however attributed the unrest to the widespread corruption in the country.
The unrests started in 2019 when Solomon Islands switched diplomatic toes from Taiwan to China.