5 Nov 2004

Solomons' PM wanted British Gurkha troops for force

11:09 am on 5 November 2004

The Solomon Islands' prime minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza, has revealed that he asked Britain to send troops from its Gurkha regiment to quell lawlessness that followed the ethnic uprising two years ago.

Sir Allan says the outgoing British high commissioner to Solomon Islands, Brian Baldwin, opted instead for reforming the police force.

He says Mr Baldwin ensured the engagement of the police commissioner, William Morrell, who paved the way for the regional intervention force, led by Australia.

Officers from both the Solomon Islands police and RAMSI have said in private that it was good to engage the regional forces, claiming lives would have been lost if United States soldiers or others had been engaged.