1 Dec 2010

Solomon Islands PM appeals for calm following violence

10:44 am on 1 December 2010

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Danny Philip, has appealed for calm following the violence which erupted yesterday after the sentencing of MP Jimmy Lusibaea.

The North Malaita MP, and Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, was sentenced to two years and nine months jail for charges related to the ethnic tensions.

Supporters of Lusibaea, angry at the sentencing, threw stones at police outside the High Court in the Solomon's capital Honiara.

In an address to the nation recorded on Solomon Islands One Television, Mr Philip called on people to return to their homes and uphold the rule of law.

He said Mr Lusibaea did not want people to take the law into their own hands

"People of Honiara, as Prime Minister I will try every avenue possible of course within the bounds and limits of our laws to ensure proper justice is achieved for Jimmy Lusibaea."

The Prime Minister says people have had enough of destruction, and appealed to them to take care for the city of Honiara and it's buildings, and to respect business people, shopkeepers and foreign investors.

Solomon Islands police say 37 people, who were allegedly involved in yesterday's incident, were arrested.

The Solomon Star paper says the Police Commissioner, Peter Marshall, confirmed the figure, adding those arrested will also be charged.

Commissioner Marshall said one local police officer was injured in yesterday's operation.

He said two shops in China town were unlawfully entered into by the mob.

He confirmed that police used two canisters of teargas at one stage to disperse the mob.

Mr Marshall said he had briefed the Prime Minister and the cabinet on the security situation yesterday and they were pleased.