18 Aug 2004

Solomons riot damage bill almost US$300,000

3:26 pm on 18 August 2004

Solomon Islands police say last week's riot at the Rove prison in Honiara caused damage worth nearly 300,000 US dollars.

More than 100 inmates were involved in the day-long unrest which police at the time described as a demonstration.

The prisoners, most of whom on remand, wanted an end to the immunity given to foreign police and they petitioned the government in a bid to get an amnesty.

The police commissioner, Bill Morrell, says the prisoners damaged cell doors and other facilities in the action which forced a school to close amid safety concerns.

While Mr Morrell has said it is up to the Solomon Islands government to pay for the repairs, he has indicated that Australia is willing to make money available.

Australia contributed funding to the upgrading of the jail.