13 Aug 2010

Solomon Islands fatal shooting not politically motivated

8:22 am on 13 August 2010

The police in Solomon Islands say a man was fatally shot yesterday morning after police and military officers responded to a drunken brawl, which was not politically motivated.

They say police and soldiers from the Regional Assistance Mission were responding to reports of two large groups fighting in the hills above Honiara.

Police Commissioner Peter Marshall say they came under a barrage of rocks and were backing away in their vehicles, when Tongan soldiers who were on foot fired shots.

He says a man in the crowd who received two bullet wounds died, while another person was slightly injured.

"There was absolutely no suggestion of any political involvement suffice to say that we had drunken individuals fighting each other who took exception to the attempts by law enforcement officers including military personnel to bring about a cessation to violent activity."

Peter Marshall says its too early in their investigations to say if the actions of the Tongan soldiers were justified, but he says the shields and visors of the soldiers were smashed.