19 Apr 2006

New Solomons PM yet to be sworn in - Australia sends troops after riots

3:40 pm on 19 April 2006

The swearing in of the new Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Snyder Rini, is reported to be deferred amid the violence and looting triggered by parliamentarians giving him the top job.

The Governor General, Sir Nathaniel Waena, was to administer the oath of office at Government House to be followed by the announcement of a new cabinet by the prime minister.

But local radio says the ceremony has been deferred and Mr Rini is being kept in an undisclosed location.

The looting and burning has prompted Australia to send 110 more soldiers to Solomon Islands.

The Australian prime minister John Howard says they will be joined by some 70 additional Australian Federal Police officers.

The Police Commissioner, Shane Castles, will today meet with the Attorney General and the Governor General to discuss the possibility of invoking the Preservation of Public Security Act.

That may see a curfew applied in an effort to restore peace to the city.

Basic services in Honiara, excluding medical services, have been shut down including banks, post offices, traditional markets and supermarkets.

The only daily newspaper has ceased publication because of the damage in the Chinatown area.