1 Dec 2010

Solomons police likely to charge 43 over Lusibaea unrest

4:08 pm on 1 December 2010

The Solomon Islands Police says charges are likely to be laid after 43 people were arrested in relation to the unrest that followed yesterday's sentencing of a former Fisheries Minister Jimmy Lusibaea.

Stones were thrown, youths tried to break into shops, and property was vandalised, after Lusibaea was sentenced to two years and nine months jail for charges related to the ethnic tensions.

The Police Commissioner Peter Marshall says extra officers have been on duty overnight and it has been quiet since yesterday's disturbance.

He says 43 people have been held in custody and charges likely to be laid include possession of offensive weapons, theft and assault on police.

Mr Marshall says there is no evidence to suggest those involved were supporters of Lusibaea, but instead they were opportunists out of the squatter settlements

"They saw it as a chance to jump on the bandwagon so to speak in terms of what was happening with the court proceedings. they tried to whip the crowd into a frenzy and to some extent they succeeded. So the majority of the people that we have arrested fall into that category as distinct from any political motivation."

Peter Marshall